Wednesday, October 25, 2006 By David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Standing in her evening gown as finalist in the 1999 Miss America pageant, Miss Virginia was awaiting the judges’ decision when one motioned to her.
“Are you wearing it?” he asked. “If so, where is it?”
The judge was curious. Where had Nicole Johnson stashed her insulin pump? She quietly told him she’d strapped it inside her leg to keep it hidden under the form-fitting gown.
Nicole Johnson Baker, Miss America 1999, is a Type I diabetic, diagnosed at 19. During the pageant she talked much about her diabetes. But overcoming its challenges to emerge as Miss America is the story behind her accomplishment.
“Never to my knowledge was a Miss America contestant wearing an external medical device, other than a hearing aid,” she said. “Young diabetic patients love hearing that story.”
Diabetes requires discipline and continual maintenance. But, as Ms. Johnson Baker proves, it’s no obstacle to success.
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