A new beauty pageant in Decatur, Alabama is helping an organization that helps women “fight like a girl.”
Jennifer Blatter and her sister, Stephanie Smith, have adopted the platform “Fight Like A Girl” for the Miss Classic American Beauty Pageant’s inaugural year, held June 7-9 at the Center for the Performing Arts in Decatur. The pageant, whose motto is “Be Classic. Be American. Be Beautiful. BE YOU,” welcomes girls and women from “ages 5 through 105.”
For their inaugural year, they are partnering with Fight Like A Girl Foundation of Westlake, Ohio to help those being treated for cancer. Contestants are being asked to donate items needed for those in cancer treatment including blankets, lip balm, and special toiletries.
The sisters started the pageant after witnessing the positive effects competing had on Stephanie’s daughter, Nataley Smith.
“She was shy and would trip over her feet,” Stephanie said of her then-6-year-old daughter who was new to Alabama, where both sisters’ families now live. “It was a way for her to meet new friends and work on her clumsiness.”
Five years later, Nataley is a poised young lady with two national titles. The pageants have taught her poise, confidence, and speaking skills. Now Jennifer and Stephanie are helping other young ladies and women develop the same skills while helping those dealing with the difficult effects of cancer treatment.
“Jennifer contacted Fight Like A Girl about partnering with us to help cancer patients in their time of need,” Sandy Ellis, the Foundations’ executive director and founder, said. “Her mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, and she was looking for a way to give back to other women facing the same fight.”
Jennifer and Stephanie’s mother, Sharon Lilly, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2018, inspired Jennifer and Stephanie, in part. They immediately began researching support groups and websites.
“Fight Like A Girl kept coming up,” Jennifer said. “Their mission fits with the direction we’re going with the pageant.”
While the women and their mother have a solid support system, they realize many don’t.
“So many people don’t talk about breast cancer and they go through it alone,” Stephanie said. “We were doing a lot of research and it was overwhelming. Then we came across Fight Like A Girl.”
Coincidentally, the women realized one day the support bracelets they bought on Amazon.com came from Fight Like A Girl.
“We’ve been wearing them for months,” Stephanie said.
Their mother was grateful for her support network but understands there are plenty of people who don’t have a network.
“I have the emotional support. I’m on prayer lists in 12 different states,” Sharon laughed.
But the family soon realized some of the serious physical side effects that chemotherapy had on their mother.
“She has sores on her lips and she’s cold all the time,” Jennifer said of the need for lip balm and blankets. “And we were surprised to learn there is a need for special shampoos and soaps and even deodorant for those being treated.”
The sisters previously coaxed their mother into entering into a beauty pageant where Sharon earned the Pageant Director’s Choice honor.
“When her hair fell out (after chemotherapy) we learned how much difference wearing lipstick and big earrings made,” Stephanie said. “Our contestants… they, of all people, understand the difference things like that make.”
The contestant who brings in the most donations will earn the title of “Most Charitable Queen.”
Ellis said her organization and its sister organization, Fight Like A Girl Club, is honored to be a part of the pageant and that they chose “Fight Like A Girl” as the theme of the pageant.
“Together, we look forward to supporting women presently facing this difficult battle,” Ellis said.
Pageant attendees are welcome to bring additional donations.
Items needed for donation:
|*Hand Lotion for sensitive skin |
*Adult coloring books
*Gift cards for gasoline/Walmart/Target,
*Lap blankets that can be used during
*Icy cool towels: Towels that can be placed in the freezer and used during a hot flash
*Crossword puzzle books/
*Scarfs or hats for those suffering rom hair loss.
*Fancy socks with encouraging words or happy things on them
*Anything you feel would be a pampering gift
*Books that reinforce positivity, i.e.
“Chicken Soup for the Soul”
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.