Sunday, May 22, 2011

March 15- 31 This is a big one!

Hello everyone!

The middle of March brought some unexpected twists and turns in my road as Miss Delaware, but just as I knew it would- everything worked out well! Although, I was still overcoming a new medical issue, I was ready to continue with my appearances and make the most of every day I have been blessed with as your Miss Delaware.

On Tuesday, March 15 I attended the general session at the House of Representatives at Legislative Hall where I was honored my Representative Valerie Longhurst for placing in the Top 10 at Miss America and for being named one of America's Choice. I admire Representative Longhurst for her commitment to our state and most importantly for advocating on behalf of people with Alopecia. Her daughter, Peyton had lost her hair as a child and ignited a fire in Valerie to represent people just like her on the state level.

The rest of the week was filled with medical tests and setbacks but alas, Friday brought the surprise birthday dinner for my best friend and former Miss Delaware contestant (and 1st Runner Up in 2008), Julia Fuller Donohue. When you become Miss Delaware, or Miss State, you learn to cherish your moments of normalcy with true friends and lots of laughter. Happy 23rd Birthday Julia! Thank you for inspiring me, and for always being there for me!

That weekend I was thrilled to model in the Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization's Fashion Show Fundraiser at the Delaware Center for Conteporary Arts in Wilmington. Faye Sutton, one of our newest board members, organized this beautiful event where women throughout the community modeled clothing provided by all local vendors. This was a great networking opportunity and my favorite part was wearing two pieces from my Miss America Wardrobe that were sponsored by The Johnstown Bridal Suite!

The beginning of the next week brought another doctor's appointment and another test, with no good news. But, with the support of my family, friends and all the wonderful people behind me, I kept praying for inner peace and kept pushing along! I was treated to my second facial that month by Carrie at the Hockessin Day Spa which certainly cheered me up and gave me some "me" time outside of the doctor's office! Thank you, Carrie!!!

Friday (March 26) I met my Executive Director, Debi Wilson in Wilmington and we headed for Philadelphia to attend the Miss Philadelphia 2011 Pageant. I have been to this pageant once before and I must say, it never dissapoints! It is not often we witness a "local" pageant of this caliber; I felt like I was at a state pageant! Congratulations to Maria Sciorillo, Miss Philadelphia 2011 and the winner of an $11,000 scholarship! Yep, that's right- $11,000!!! I especially loved her because Maria was also awarded the Community Service Award which is near and dear to my heart. Congratulations to Kevin, Agnes, and Frank on a beautiful production and such a well-rounded winner! Thank you for including me!

From Philadelphia, I found myself on a train headed for Washington, DC!

Once I arrived in Washington D.C. I was picked up at the train station by my wonderful fiance', Kevin, and then immediately taken to the home of Miss District of Columbia Pageant's Executive Director, Teri Galvez where I  reunited with Miss DC, VA, WA, CO, TX, MD, CT, KY, NY, NJ, OK, and OR (hopefully I didn't miss anyone!). My visit with them lifted my spirits and I felt right at home with these incredible women whom I am proud to call my sisters. I was so blessed to spend two nights there and catch up with the girls, and our beloved Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan! This was my first time seeing her since her coronation, and I was dying to hear about all the fabulous things she has been up to! Of course, the stories did not dissapoint and Teresa continues to make all of us proud as she travels thousands of miles every week representing this organization which we all love so much. Teresa truly embodies what this program is all about.

While in DC I had the fortune of, not only spending time with Miss America and some of my "sisters", but we also were able to meet with a non-profit organization of our choosing. I met with some of the 4-H staff at the USDA Office in DC which was very worthwhile since I am a 4-H Board of Trustee, yet have never seen the governmental side of our organization. Thank you to everyone at the USDA Office for welcoming me and for being so flexible! Jen Corey (Miss DC 2009) was kind enough to be my escort and driver those few days, so once she picked me up we were on our way back to change for the big event! That night all of the visiting titleholders and I attended an event at the Croatian Embassy in Teresa's honor, since she is of Croatian descent. All I can say is that it was an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

After the event was an after-party and by the end of the night, I was exhausted. Unfortunately, I had just started a new medication and was still recovering from a recent medical issue, and I have little recollection of the trip. But, I do know that we all had fun! And after getting a few hours of rest- Miss TX and Miss KY and I were up and ready to visit our state Senators! Senator Carper was kind enough to spend some time with me that morning and I am honored to call him a friend and longtime supporter. In my opinion, he is one of the most passionate and giving elected officials in our state!

After meeting with Senator Carper, I had to rush over to Union Station in DC to hop on another train- this time I was headed for New York City! By Tuesday evening I was checking in to the Waldorf Astoria (my first time ever!) for the National 4-H Council's Board of Trustees meetings. Wednesday (March 30) we were in committee and full board meetings from 8am until 4pm with only a few breaks for lunch and such. We were on a roll! It has been a great honor to have been elected as one of the newest Trustees on the council and I have already learned so much from this experience. The best part is that it has affirmed my love and belief in the 4-H Organization, and the impact it continues to make worldwide. That evening I was delighted to attend and lead the pledge at the 4-H Legacy Awards Gala at the Waldorf Astoria which honored some of 4-H's most incredible leaders, members, sponsors and volunteers. I felt even more proud that night to say I have a clover shaped heart.
The next morning I enjoyed breakfast in NYC with my new friend, Jodi who also has Alopecia Areata! Jodi is an inspiration to me, and I just love her family! They took such great care of me, and even bought me a delicious dessert from Serendipity II!!! We chatted for a while and before I knew it, I was on a train again. This time... I was headed home!

Whew!!! Were you able to keep up? It was quite a busy two weeks, but well worth it! I had such a great time and loved seeing my Miss America sisters, and traveling all over the place!
 
Wishing you all a beautiful evening. God bless!
 
-Kayla

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