Nicole Johnson was crowned Miss America 1999 in September of 1998, and has worked tirelessly since then to improve the health of millions of Americans living with and at risk for diabetes. She knows the topic well. An expert on coping with diabetes, Johnson has lived with the disease 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the last six years. Johnson was diagnosed with diabetes in 1993, as a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of South Florida. “The disease came as a complete shock to me. I didn’t really know what diabetes was, and consequently was devastated by the news of my diagnosis.” Nobody knows what causes diabetes in its victims, but Johnson is quick to tell you that she knows how to control it and beat the odds. Throughout her participation in the Miss America Program, Johnson was faced with many challenges. Her biggest came from advisors that told her diabetes would keep her from achieving her goals and dreams. However, a “can do” attitude and spirit of perseverance wouldn’t allow this driven woman to accept that advice. Instead, she began an ambitious campaign to educate and rid society of the many misconceptions that accompany this disease.
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Today, Nicole serves as a motivational speaker addressing topics of positivity and being an overcomer. Throughout her term as Miss America, Nicole has proved to be an effective fundraiser. She is credited with helping raise over $12 million for diabetes research. In addition, she has lobbied the U.S. Congress six times on behalf of medical research and funding issues, and has helped pass diabetes-related legislation in 3 states. However, she says her work is far from finished. Nicole also speaks of her faith and the tremendous influence it has had on her perception of life and personal success. “I have been given back my life twice. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had it not been for my strong and grounded faith, principles, and clear rules for living.”
National Spokesperson, Board of Directors, American Diabetes Association
National Celebrity Spokesperson and Advocate, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
Chairperson, High Hopes Fund - Joslin Diabetes Center
Distinguished Alumni Award, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA
C. Everett Koop Award for Health Promotion and Awareness, American Diabetes Association
Eugene T. Davidson, MD Award for Public Service, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
Courage to Come Back Award, Mercy Health System - Philadelphia, PA
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