Criteria for Chief for a Day: a local student between 3-12 years old who suffers from a chronic health condition. Between the lines: a young survivor with tenacity.
Nikki Kohn, an 11 year-old fifth grader at , was selected as Chief for a Day for 2012 and will get to participate in special events throughout the year with the . She has had Type 1 diabetes since she was 3 years old and was nominated by her school for proving herself a leader among her peers. She works to educate others on what it means to live with diabetes.
“I just want other kids [with Type 1 diabetes] to know that you’re no different than anybody else,” said Kohn.
Her mother, Brandy, is proud of how her daughter has handled the illness at such a young age.
“She likes to nurture the other kids who are afraid to talk to them about [diabetes],” said Brandy. “She likes to educate people about her disease so they aren’t afraid of her. Now she tries to educate people that she’s just as normal as any other child.”
As Kohn has grown older, she’s gotten better at handling the lifestyle of a Type 1 diabetic – the insulin pump, shots, dietary and exercise restrictions. But, it’s still a challenge.
“It’s hard for me when my blood sugar drops in the middle of the night. It’s scary. I’m afraid it will drop so low that I’ll pass away,” said Kohn. “I’m always on alert and that’s hard for me.”
Kohn finds a lot of support at the Panther Day Camp in Black Diamond, a weeklong daycamp in August for children ages 4-13 with diabetes. She’s been a camper there for the last 6 years, and in a couple more years, she’ll be eligible to become a camp counselor.
“The camp really focuses on teaching everyone in the family about the disease, because it affects the whole family, not just the person,” said Brandy.
Right after camp, she’ll jump into her role as Chief for a Day, which takes place August 16 at Qwest Field.
During the all-day event, students from around the region will meet professional sports players and cheerleaders and will be escorted by a law enforcement motorcade to the Police Academy. There, they will be entertained by K9 demonstrations, a police helicopter landing and will be officially inducted as Chief for a Day with a special pinning ceremony.
As Chief, Kohn already got to tour the police station, hang out with the sergeants at Dillanos Roasters and meet Mayor Dave Enslow. She also got to meet the city council and was introduced to other local business owners.
Her favorite part of the experience so far? Touring the Sumner Police Department and checking out the holding cell.
Throughout the year, Kohn will be a special guest of Sumner Police in parades and events throughout the city, so keep an eye out for her!