Former Miss America to speak at USF Sarasota-Manatee for JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes kick-off

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee students, faculty & staff will be helping to raise funds for and participating in the March 26th Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes on Siesta Key Beach.  In order to kick-off the event, former Miss America Nicole Johnson, who was crowned in 1999 and is a Type 1 Diabetic, will be joining Dr. Arthur Guilford, Regional Chancellor at USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) on March 9th to stress the importance of the walk. Dr. Guilford is the chairman of this year’s walk.

“The JDRF is a wonderful organization that believes in supporting both research and people,” said Johnson.  “I am honored to participate in the Sarasota walk because like millions of others, I live with Type 1 diabetes and am eager for a cure.  I also believe in the importance of community activism as a form of therapy for the stress associated with diabetes.  Partnering with others around the goal of better treatment and research is a way to build confidence, resolve, and relationships — all key elements in living successfully with diabetes.”

Johnson, who is the Executive Director of “Bringing Science Home” at USF Health Design Center, was diagnosed with Diabetes in 1993 and understands well the challenges associated with the disease.  “I have experienced ups and downs in my journey,” she said.  “One thing has always remained the same though – I have always known that JDRF was searching for a cure for my disease.  I am not sure when we will see that cure, but I have hope because of the work of JDRF.”

If you are interested in participating with USF Sarasota-Manatee in the walk on March 26th, please contact Pam Gleason at or 941-359-4603.  Information about USF Sarasota-Manatee can be found online at