Your Rights, One Voice: Cameron’s Story

Cameron NicholasCameron Nicholas is a firefighter with the Prichard, Ala., Fire Department. But having type 1 diabetes almost prevented that from happening.

Cameron had always dreamed of becoming a firefighter. He had never let diabetes stop him from staying fit, playing sports in school and living life—so it had never occurred to him that he couldn’t achieve this dream. And his mother, Veronica, had always told him that he “could do anything he wanted.”

Lack of Understanding

Becoming a firefighter required passing a physical exam—and Cameron had passed a number of physicals and endurance tests in the past. But when he took the required physical for firefighting in 2013, he didn’t pass.

One issue was that the doctor did not understand the laws that protect people who have diabetes, as well as the appropriate medical standards necessary to judge Cameron’s readiness for firefighting duties. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with diabetes. Medical reviews for firefighters have to be based on their ability to do their job, not just how they are taking care of their diabetes.

A Dream Achieved

Cameron was angry and extremely disappointed. So Veronica contacted the American Diabetes Association. A member of the Association’s Legal Advocacy staff helped Veronica understand the situation, and then she educated the doctor.

As a result, Cameron was able to pass another physical. He became a firefighter and he loves his job! As of February 2015, he has been a firefighter for over a year. And in 2014, Cameron passed the test to become a Certified EMT (Emergency Management Technician), finishing second in his class!

Cameron says, “Never let diabetes stop you from achieving your goals and dreams.”


The American Diabetes Association leads the effort to prevent and eliminate discrimination against people with diabetes at school, at work and in other parts of daily life. If you need help, call 1-800-DIABETES or visit http://diabetes.org/gethelp.

Give the gift of fairness — donate now to help people with diabetes facing discrimination, just like Cameron:

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3 Responses to Your Rights, One Voice: Cameron’s Story

  1. Dr Stan Miller says:

    Dear Cameron,
    I sincerely congratulate you on your guts & your wonderfully great career!

    I’ve been a Diabetic1 since 1967 & fully enjoy my veterinary life (since 1971 – retired in 2005);
    I do believe diabetes strengthens one properly – for most of life’s foibles.

    Have a great life ahead & God bless!
    Stan

    • Cameron Nicholas says:

      Thank you very much Dr. Miller, I hope all is well and you’re having a great retirement!

      – Cameron K Nichholas

  2. Thomas Liston says:

    Hi Sir,

    My name is Thomas Liston and I saw your story on diabetes.org

    Im writing because I recently was denied a firefighter/paramedic position with the Vancouver WA fire department
    solely because I am a type 1 diabetic and had an A1C above an 8 (8.9) otherwise there were no other issues.
    I am wondering if you could email me or call me to figure out what your process was and who on the legal staff with the diabetes organization educated the physician who did your medical exam to get the results reversed and corrected?

    Please feel free to call or email anytime, thank you.

    Thomas Liston
    541-639-7722

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