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This Mother’s day, we thought we should share the story of an inspirational mum living with diabetes. Nicole Johnson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1993 and has spent the last 29 years proving to herself and others that it is possible to live a healthy, happy and ‘normal’ life with diabetes. With nearly 25 years of experience in behavioural health research, communications and non-profit management, Dr. Johnson is well known for her lifelong service to charitable causes. Although most recognised for being crowned Miss America in 1999, where she sought awareness of diabetes through sharing her personal story, she is a leading advocate for diabetes research and education as well as caring mother.
Nicole told the Plaid Journal that motherhood is both magical and indescribable. The moment you share with your unborn baby, realising that there are greater things to come and that the world will change around you forever. Nicole reports that her experience as a mother has been humbling, exciting and bringing unspeakable joy into her life. These do not come without feelings of hopelessness, most of which are associated with living with Type 1 diabetes.
“I never expected my child to become my biggest diabetes cheerleader, but having her on my team makes all the difference in the world”
Diabetes during motherhood is a challenge and raises questions that do not always have answers. Being a mother with diabetes leads to feelings of guilt as your children have to undertake immense testing to learn their risks of developing the disease. Also having to grow up faster than other children by learning the extreme risks that come with the disease. The importance of hope is articulated by Nicole, as her and her daughter work together to create a high quality of life for their family and others.
Nicole gained a reputation for her engagement in diabetes research as well as her nonprofit management. Her professional background includes time with JDRF and the University of South Florida, also spending time in health journalism where she won a Telly Award for her CNBC show and writing 8 books. Over the years Nicole has served on many advisory boards and while also raising a child, completing a Doctorate in Public Health degree from the University of South Florida. In 2019, Nicole launched The Empowerment Foundation, which is an initiative to help individuals and organisers reach their goals and realise their full potential. Later, Nicole became a Senior Director in Research at JDRF, establishing a research program on Behavioural Health and Psychology.
To help prevent the prevalence of diabetes, Nicole says we have to reframe educational messages about health and well-being. Practical advice and parent training is key - as first-time mothers it is a struggle to pack your child’s lunch box with nutritious and healthy snacks to ensure they are keeping a balanced diet. People like Nicole inspire and drive us to do better for the diabetes community. Part of the reason she started the Nicole Johnson Foundation is because of her background in public health and wanting to close the gap in education on this disease and encourage living a relatively normal life.
Comment below about your experiences as a mum! We love reading your stories and comments.
Glucology Store was born in Sydney Australia. Our mission is to help improve the lives of people living with diabetes by providing the best possible support products and information.
Remember to always seek advice from your medical practitioner before changing anything about your diabetes management. The above information is not medical advice.