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Fit And Well Idaho: Beauty Queen Living With Type I Diabetes

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) A local beauty queen has the whole world ahead of her. She also lives with Type I Diabetes.

Sierra Sandison was crowned Miss Magic Valley 2013 over the summer and through her platform of diabetes awareness, she is advocating that living with the disease is manageable.

Sandison realized something might be wrong when her level of thirst increased to uncomfortable levels.

She coined the term, "aquaholic".

"When I was skiing or snowboarding or when I was in class and had to leave several times every hour," explains the 19-year old.

Her dad, who's a doctor told her she had diabetes and sure enough she had her blood sugar measured and that turned out to be the case.
Finding out she had Type I Diabetes didn't sit well.

She adds, "at first, it totally flipped my world upside down and it was so devastating, I was balling my eyes out the first day and I was out of control for the first couple of months."

But this challenge opened doors that she may have never dreamed possible.

"I realized that challenges can only make you stronger and being able to be an example to other diabetics by showing them it is manageable has been a huge blessing and I wouldn't trade diabetes for anything now because it has brought me lots of friends and lots of blessings."

Unlike Type II Diabetes, Type I can't be prevented. Type I is an auto–immune problem where the immune system attacks the cells on the pancreas that makes insulin and destroys their ability to make insulin.

Heidi Houser, a nurse practitioner with St. Luke's Clinic explains, "we are doing research to try and figure out what causes the body to attack itself like that and our clinic is involved in a large international study called trial net that is screening patients and relatives to see if they in fact have some of these insulin antibodies that they may be at risk for developing Type I so we can look at ways to prevent or delay onset of Type I Diabetes.

"The most overwhelming thing is every day you have to poke yourself with tons of needles, it's just an overwhelming concept to do that every day for the rest of your life. But I have to brush my teeth every night , I just have to poke my finger before I eat and give myself a shot," adds Sandison.

Turning obstacles into opportunities.

For those children living with diabetes, you're not alone.

On Saturday, the Magic Valley Idaho Diabetes Youth Program is hosting a movie night.

The event will be at Canyonside Christian School in Jerome starting at six. If you have questions, call Marcy at (435) 760-9307.


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