I Am More

            One of the most touching moments during Miss Idaho week was a conversation I had with Miss Capital City, Kristin Tatilian. It was the very last day of competition; all of us girls had been living together all week. We were eating lunch, and I pulled out my pump to give myself some insulin. Kristin asked what I was doing, so I explained. She asked if I always wore my pump, because she had never noticed before. I was shocked she hadn’t seen it, because, of course, I had been wearing it visibly all week. “When I see you,” she responded, “I just see Sierra. I have honestly never noticed any machine. Your beauty and personality shines way too brightly for anything to get in its way”.  Even though I didn’t mind if people noticed my insulin pump last week, because I wanted to spread my message, it really touched me that Kristin would say something like that.

            You all know me as the beauty queen with diabetes. Your support has been so overwhelmingly amazing these past 6 days, and I have developed an entirely new appreciation for this disease, because it has brought me a whole community of friends. I think it is wonderful that we all of have something in common that has brought us together, but I have had one comment pop up on social media this week that stuck out to me:

            I want you all to know that, as much as I am enjoying hearing about how much I have touched your lives, diabetes does not define me. Your diabetes, or whatever your struggle or disability is, does not define you either. I am also not just “a pageant girl”, or anything close to a supermodel. I am a completely average, normal girl, who likes to sing, and thought that entering the Miss America Organization might give me opportunities to serve my community, while inspiring me to stay healthy and improve my public speaking skills.

So, I’ve decided to write a blog to tell you who I am: what I love, what I enjoy doing, what and who inspires me, my passions, and how I want to make a difference with my life and be remembered.

Like Dixie said, I like to powerlift and do CrossFit! I love working out. I also love running, biking, skiing, and snowboarding. I played basketball, was on an all-star cheer team in high school (Planet Cheer), and was also on a ballroom dance team.

Some basic, but silly, facts that all my best friends know about me are:

  • ·      I love anything and everything Wonder Woman
  • ·      My favorite animal is a jellyfish
  • ·      My favorite colors are lavender and pink
  • ·      I love grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate cheesecake
  • ·      My favorite Disney characters are Eeyore and Belle
  • ·      My #mcm is Kevin Malone from the Office (and I also love One Direction and Nick Jonas)
  • ·      My #wcw…oh where do I even start! I love Nicole Johnson (duh!), Ellen DeGeneres, Sheryl Sandberg, and Eleanor Roosevelt! I also look up to my Miss Idaho sisters! Especially the ones I have gotten to know well: Laura Hampikian, Kaitlyn Anderson, Katie Strobel, Dani Beckstrom, Malia Arnell and Carolyn Pace. You guys exemplify everything this organization stands for, and I know there is AT LEAST one future Miss Idaho on that list!
  • ·      I have two little sisters, Hailey (18) and Sydney (15). I have two puppies, and a Flemmish giant bunny (if you haven’t seen one, Google it)!
  • ·      My room could win an award for being the messiest in the world.
  • I collect clocks from wherever I travel to, and set them to the time zones they are from! I also collect pins and buttons!

One of my greatest passions is traveling. In 2014 alone, I have been to 12 different countries and 9 states. On January 2nd, I left for a three month backpacking trip through Europe, and visited a bunch of places. My favorites were London, Swtizerland (I skied in the alps!), and Paris. I saw a Backstreet Boys concert in Spain (yes, they are still rockin’ it), and I also went all over Italy and Germany, as well as Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, and Ireland! It was an amazing trip to say the least. You can read more about it in a past Miss Idaho blog post that I submitted when I was a local titleholder here!

I also went on a short term mission trip to Cambodia last summer, and lived in Ecuador for a year when I was 14! In Ecuador, my dad volunteered as a doctor in a mission clinic in a small village called Guadalupe! My sisters and I went to school, and helped in the clinic in our spare time.

I would like to be a CEO and/or own my own company “when I grow up”. I am not sure what kind of company, but I am very passionate about business. I feel that, with the gifts and talents I have been given, it is the best way for me to make the greatest possible impact on my community. Two companies I admire a lot are Chick-fil-A and Southwest Airlines because of their dedication to their employees and customers. I hope to learn from their examples to implement their ability to show compassion and care in my own company!

At some point, I would like to live in Ecuador again, or any developing country. Since I am not studying to be a doctor, I instead plan on serving the people there by helping them set up their own businesses and teaching them business skills.

At some point, I promise I will tell you about my platform Possibilities for Disabilities, but that will be its own blog post!

I hope this will help you see me for more than just my disease. Now that I’ve shared who I am with you, this week I want to get to know YOU! Post your pictures, still with the hashtag #showmeyourpump, but this time, tell me something about you! Whether it is something you just found out you had in common with me (aside from our disease), something that makes you unique, or something you are passionate about, I want to hear about it! Ready, GO!

All my love,

P.S. If you haven’t already, follow me:
Instagram: @sierra_anne_nicole and @missidorg
Twitter: @sierra_anne93 and @missidahoorg

AND, now you can write to me and send me stuff too! I love snail mail :D Hope to hear from you!

Sierra Sandison
P.O. Box 6159

Twin Falls, ID 83303


  1. Hello Sierra
    I'm from Brazil and here you are a inspiration.
    We are all talking about your attitude and how this can help people to know more about diabetes.

  2. I am so appreciative of the focus on T1D, but this blog is key! My son (14) was diagnosed last year and it was VERY important to me that he know he is NOT his disease. I have used this phrase several times, "You are not your disease." He continues to participate in sports, academic team, and even goes on church mission trips. While he may have diabetes, diabetes does not have him. Thank you for bringing more awareness to T1, but more importantly for realizing that diabetes does not define you. :)