Keira Randhawa, an Abbotsford eighth grader, is competing in the Miss Teen BC contest to help people learn about and manage Type 1 diabetes – a disease from which she suffers.
“I am excited to have such a great platform such as Miss Teen BC to advocate and bring awareness to a disease that has changed my life and so many others,” she said.
In January 2017, Randhawa was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a disease in which the body struggles to use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone the body needs to convert sugar into energy. Without insulin, sugar builds up in the blood, resulting in high blood sugar.
Having high blood sugar can cause life-threatening complications such as chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, foot or eye problems, heart attack, stroke, and anxiety.
While there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, properly managing blood sugar levels reduces the risk of developing these complications. Through a healthy diet and lifestyle as well as insulin injections, people suffering from Type 1 diabetes can live long and healthy lives.
“I am so blessed to have such an amazing team of doctors and people who care about me to help me along the path of life,” Randhawa said.
No one knows what causes diabetes and it can appear at any age, although most often children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes between ages four and seven and between ages 10 and 14. Risk factors include family history, genetics, age and geography.
Some symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are increased thirst, frequent urination, bed-wetting, extreme hunger, unintended weight loss, irritability and other mood changes, fatigue, weakness and blurred vision.
Miss Teen BC contestants receive training from June 30 to July 2 to face the judges’ panel, attend rehearsals for the grand finale showcase and participate in a large-scale group fundraiser for Cops for Cancer.
Each contestant will be evaluated in personal expression in sportswear of their choosing, personal expression in an evening gown of their choosing, a private interview with the judging panel, and a public on-stage interview in the final showcase.
“I’m grateful to be taking part in Miss Teen BC this year,” Randhawa said. “In the future I would like to become a doctor and help others like me manage their Type 1 diabetes.”
Despite her recent diagnosis, Randhawa has maintained a good work ethic at school and is on the high honour role for terms one and two.
Active in sports, she tried out and made both the school volleyball team and basketball team. She also plays sports outside of the school season.
The Miss, Miss Teen, Junior Miss and Mrs. BC pageant finale is on July 2 at Chief Sepass Theatre in Langley.