Libby Russell ResumeThe newly crowned Miss Idaho, Sierra Sandison, has a message for us. #Showmeyourpump has become an Internet sensation over the past week after this 20 -year – old beauty queen bravely sported her very own insulin pump on the runway during her pageant, launching her to stardom in more ways than one.

This situation made me feel all of the feels. Especially when so recently, the Internet went nuts about the aspiring model, Bethany Townsend after she posted pictures of herself sporting her Colostomy bag outside of her bikini.

Admittedly, I was skeptical of Sierra at first. “What a publicity stunt,” I thought.  I even said out loud that she probably just showed off her pump for brownie points. Then, after a few days of mulling it over, I came around. I was being a bitch. A jealous one, for that matter. I was thinking, oh now she gets all of the credit? Since I am just an average Joe(sephina), I am not influencing anyone to be braver about their pump. Since I am not wearing my Derek on the outside of my bikini on a runway, I have never inspired a single little kid to manage his or her diabetes better (for the record the only runway I’ve ever been on is at an airport, mind you). And, since I am not a celebrity published in every magazine, I am not influencing any other person to be more open about their own condition/s, whatever it or they may be.

You’re right, Libby, you might as well just give up now. This is all about you, afterall. Beside, your diabetes  is 100% perfect anyway, so you have no room for improvement or some inspiration of your own, that’s for sure… You’ve also never once been told that your teeny tiny little blog has touched people and impacted them deeply or gone to bed feeling more at peace with yourself because you got all your words down on paper (err…the Internet…).

Dammit, Sierra, you stole all of my thunder. That and the thunder of all the other incredible people out there that aren’t ever making a difference just by being their amazing selves and doing what they normally do each and everyday…


Like I said, I came around. No one is stealing anyone’s thunder. In fact, how I feel today is immense gratitude towards Sierra (and even Bethany). After beating myself up over my initial Leo-minded mean girl thoughts, I realized that, holy shit, this girl is just as brave as everyone else, she just happens to be the one in the spotlight. So, by doing what she has done, she has helped all of us out. She has now informed hundreds of thousands of people across the country about what an insulin pump really is. About what type 1 diabetes is, even. She has raised awareness exponentially in just one week. Think of how many more kids at school will now be asked, “is that the same cool thing Miss Idaho was wearing?” instead of, “Eew, what is that?”

Sierra has done all of us one gigantic favor. She took one for the team. She answered questions that many of us are tired of responding to, or are too afraid to deal with directly. And not only that, but she has become the face of diabetes. No longer will people picture some old guy sitting by a fire with a huge mustache saying, “Diabetus” (though I love that Wilford Brimley, I really do.)

Hopefully now people are going to see a strong, beautiful person when they think of type 1. No, most of us don’t look like Sierra on the outside and aren’t ever going to feel comfortable racing around in a bikini (#geneology #science). But on the inside I’m willing to bet a lot of us do. A lot of us like to exude confidence, have intelligent conversations, and be in the spotlight in our own way. Many of us are leaders, innovators, and influencers in our own communities regardless of what that entails. There is no reason why people need to associate diabetes with anything other than this glamorous young person with a perfect smile and eyebrows. If anything, this is a publicity stunt she pulled, and not for herself, but for the disease. And, frankly, it might just be exactly type 1 diabetes needed.

So, Sierra, I’d like to apologize for being a judgmental biatch when I first heard your story. Instead, I’d like to thank you for exposing yourself as one of the many beautiful young people out in the world living amazingly amazeballs lives with type 1. I wish you all of the best in all of your endeavors, and I hope that someday we cross paths in our journey to enlighten the world on type 1, and make guys and gals realize that though it sucks sometimes, everybody’s got their something and we’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got.

And on that note, since you showed me yours, I’ll show you mine (bonus bikini round). #showmeyourpump
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