(USA Today) Sierra Sandison always wanted to ignore her Type 1 diabetes. She hoped it would go away.
But on Saturday, Sandison, 20, strutted her way across a stage, competing in the Miss Idaho pageant's swimsuit competition wearing her insulin pump attached to her bikini.
And later that evening, Sandison beat out 19 other women to be crowned 2014 Miss Idaho, reports MagicValley.com.
Now she's become a hero in the diabetes community.
Once the photo surfaced, Sandison encouraged fans to share their own pump photos, with the hashtag #showmeyourpump. It's gone viral.
Sandison tells USA TODAY:
I am so overwhelmed. But at the same time, it's wonderful. I am just a normal person, so it's difficult to wrap my head around the fact that so many people look up to me now. It's even crazier to think that such a simple thing, like wearing my pump during competition, would have such a huge impact on so many people!
And she told her Facebook followers:
My message to everyone, diabetic or not, is that we all have something that doesn't "measure up" to the beauty standards set by the media — and that is okay! It does not make you any less beautiful. We also all have obstacles, challenges, and trials. Diabetes turned my life upside down when I was first diagnosed. Don't let your challenge hold you back or slow you down."
She will compete in the Miss America Pageant Sept. 9-14 in Atlantic City.
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