Junior Miss Queen of Pink Kaley Willis and cancer patient Lora Byers
By Kaley Willis
LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana, U.S.A. – I’ve always wanted to wear a tiara, but I’ve never imagined wearing one could come with such great responsibility.
I was recently crowned “Junior Miss Queen of Pink,” a coveted position that pageant girls everywhere lust after; not just because of the gorgeous rhinestone encrusted crown, the silky banner, or a permanent spot on the local parade route, but because being Queen of Pink means something so much more.
Being a “Queen of Pink” means that not only are you considered a queen at the Think Pink festival – an event in October made to raise money for breast cancer awareness – but you are an ambassador for breast cancer patients and survivors everywhere.
As I stood on the stage of the pageant looking into the sea of people in the audience, a crown was placed on my head as I was announced the winner. Of course, I was very proud of myself and excited at my victory, but I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me.
That crown and banner would not begin to equip me for the journey I am embarking on. Just being crowned a little less than a week ago, you would think that nothing impacting would occur on my journey so far. Well, at least that’s what I thought. I was so very wrong.
On June 26th, just a couple days after the pageant, I met Lora Byers, an amazing woman and a Crowley, Louisiana native.
She has three children, 28 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, but she is also currently suffering from breast cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. On top of her breast cancer, she recently had a mastectomy, she has a mass on her neck, and also a tumor on her brain.
Without insurance, Byers is forced to pay for all of her treatments herself.
Upon hearing her story, the Think Pink organization and the Queens of Pink knew what we had to do. We presented Ms. Byers with a $500 donation to help with the cost of treatment, as well as encouraging words, cards, and gifts.
She was so appreciative, saying, “You never know how much support you have until you are going through something. I am thankful for what you all are doing.”
Byers is not the only woman whose life has been affected by the Queen of Pink organization.
Carol Ware founded the organization in 2006 with the hopes of helping breast cancer patients in the Louisiana parishes of Calcasieu, Beauregard, and Allen. Queen of Pink helps those patients in financial need pay for treatments and other expenses.
As Queens of Pink, we plan to donate to many more breast cancer patients over the course of our reign.
I know even after my reign is over, I will not cease to be passionate about breast cancer awareness. Earning this crown has been a jumpstart on the philanthropy I will continue to be involved with for the rest of my life.
For more information about the Queen of Pink organization, please visit www.queenofpink.webs.com.