January 30th, 2016 was an extremely emotional day for me. Not only was I privileged to win the title of Miss Teen Los Angeles County International, I won on my Grandma’s birthday.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am extremely close with my family, especially with my grandparents. My grandma on my dad’s side has been battling Lymphoma for the past 3 years and was re-diagnosed this past Christmas with the more aggressive form. She recently started back up with chemo and is once again, exhibiting strength through all of her pain. Competing in this pageant was about more to me than winning the crown and sash, qualifying for states, or accomplishing my goals. It was about making my grandma proud, and winning at a pageant she was healthy enough to attend and watch.
When I decided to compete in this pageant, she told me, “I don’t care how sick I am or if I have to wear a mask over my face, I want to watch you compete. It is my goal and I will be there.” If that isn’t motivation in itself, I don’t know what is. I decided prior to the pageant that I would compete in her favorite dress of mine, one she had never see me compete in before. I didn’t tell her I was wearing it, so you could imagine how excited she was when I walked on stage for evening gown in the dress she adores. Let alone, an hour later, how thrilled she was watching her granddaughter be crowned in the very dress she has loved for over a year.
As soon as the show was over, pictures were taken and I could reunite with my family, my grandma could not stop saying, “this is the best birthday ever!”. She also told me that she was so exhausted that morning from the previous week of chemo that she almost didn’t come, but she had promised herself she was going to do it. Her smile strung from ear to ear and did not leave for the remainder of the night. My mom even texted me on Monday that when they checked her blood counts to run treatment, they came back perfect and she told everyone it was because of her “amazing weekend that she got to share with me and watch me win my pageant”, and in typical grandma fashion, continued to show everyone pictures of me competing on her phone.
Of course I am so thrilled to have won the title and am so excited about getting to continue to work with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and share my story with children around the Dallas- Fort Worth and Southern California area, but I thought in this post I would let y’all in on why winning last Saturday meant so much to me! In my family, pageants aren’t just for me, it is something that brings all of my family members together to celebrate something I’m passionate about and that fills me with joy.
Nothing is more rewarding than accomplishing something for a bigger purpose than yourself! I am so appreciative that God has blessed with with such an amazing and loving family whose happiness I get to put at the forefront of my life!