As a Type 1 Diabetic, this topic is very near and dear to my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was in 7th grade, and my life was changed in an instant when I became one of the 1 in 30 million people to be randomly diagnosed with this severe and life-threatening autoimmune disorder. My doctors told me that without treatment, I likely had less than 24 hours to live. Luckily, I received treatment and education that allowed me to adjust to life with Type 1 Diabetes and still function as a happy, “regular” person.
hero_image_alt_text===Pic of Cheyenne
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Rather than let my “disability” hold me back, I’ve learned to embrace it & share it with others. On my journey to Miss Wyoming and later Miss America, I created the platform “Winning With One: Conquering Type 1 Diabetes,” and focused on educating others about the physical, mental, and emotional toll that diabetes can have on one’s body. By sharing my journey, I began taking critical steps to eliminating hurtful stereotypes and stigmas that unfortunately seem to permeate society today. Don’t get me wrong- a lot of days are hard- really hard. But life could be so much worse! In some ways, T1D is a blessing because it makes me more aware and conscious of what is going on in my body and forces me to take care of myself and make healthy choices- beyond just monitoring my blood glucose levels.
That’s a large part of the reason why I became so passionately involved with the American Heart Association! Even though the AHA works more closely with the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes (Type 1 can’t be prevented or cured- so far) due to its correlation with heart disease, I found that the healthy habits that the AHA encourages truly help me manage my condition too. You don’t have to be a diabetic to adopt a more heart healthy lifestyle- everyone should do all they can to prevent heart disease and stroke. Nonetheless, diabetes is a condition that can often coincide with heart disease, so it’s important to be aware of and recognize how you can prevent both health issues at the same time!
Interestingly, I’m sitting down and writing this message to you all on November 14th- National Diabetes Day but the entire month of November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. I am so thankful for the technology, education, and support from family friends that I have to manage this disease. It wouldn’t be possible without all of that, so if you know someone who struggles with diabetes (no matter what type!), reach out and support them! Ask how you can help, and if they want you to, hold them accountable for their health. Exercise with them, find and cook healthy recipes with them, and encourage them to take their medications and manage their risk factors. We all need somebody to support us. To read more about how to live a healthy life with diabetes click HERE.
Don’t forget to get involved with the lifesaving advocacy work of the American Heart Association today! Add your voice by simply texting HEART to 46839 right now or visit https://www.yourethecure.org/join. It only takes a few minutes, and you will be part of a powerful movement to make a difference and save lives. To the millions of people out there who are affected by all forms of diabetes and heart disease, stay strong. None of us are perfect but maintaining conscious heart healthy decisions can make life a lot more fun and manageable for us. Your entire body will thank you for it.
Forever your Miss Wyoming 2017 and AHA Advocate,