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Miss Idaho creates social media movement after showing off her insulin pump

Sierra Sandison sporting her insulin pump during the bathing suit competition has had quite an impact. 


Greg Seals


Posted on Jul 18, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 10:35 pm CDT

The bathing suit portion of a beauty pageant is stressful. The pressure of having to compete against impossibly thin, well-endowed girls in front of the gaze of a crowd of thousands and judges is enough. But the bravery that comes with making the decision to wear your insulin pack with your bikini is part of what won Sierra Sandison the title of Miss Idaho 2014.

“Diabetes turned my life upside down when I was first diagnosed,” Sierra wrote on Facebook. After being diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 2012, she became fearful of wearing her insulin pack in public, let alone a statewide beauty pageant. She catalogued her struggle with her illness in a post on her blog:

When I first started competing, I was using injections rather than a pump. I didn’t want people to see a weird-tubey-machine-thing attached to me all the time, and could not wrap my head around having a medical device on my body for the rest of my life.

But after hearing that Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, wore an insulin pump, non-visibly during competitions, she was inspired to do the same. Now, her choice has inspired a new generation to not let define themselves according to society’s standards of beauty. 


Thanks to her post on Facebook asking users to #showmeyourpump, there’s a new beauty pageant on social media.  Quickly, admirers have chimed in with photos of their devices and praise for Sierra’s inspiring actions. 

no shame in the pumpin’ game 💪 #showmeyourpump #pumpitup #diabeetus @sierra_anne93

— Danielle Adams (@DanielleAdams5) July 18, 2014

Friends for life, Tyler and Addison, are inspired by @sierra_anne93 @MissIdahoOrg #showmeyourpump

— Kelly Fitzgerald (@kelfitz77) July 16, 2014

#showmeyourpump #2 “in the pink”

— Ben Rolfe (@mcbunsy) July 17, 2014

My angel on holiday just out the pool with her insulin pump #showmeyourpump

— catriona Hope (@CatrionaHope) July 18, 2014

I’m obsessed with @sierra_anne93 so I’ll participate in #showmeyourpump 💙💙💙

— Catrina Curtis (@cat_trina_) July 16, 2014

#showmeyourpump #t1dawareness #confidenceiskey

— Hannah ☀️✌️ (@hannahestellec) July 16, 2014

H/T KDVR | Photo via quinnanya/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Jul 18, 2014, 3:21 pm CDT