Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fort Mill Times Article on Avery and I

The Fort Mill Times wrote an awesome article about Avery and I as a highlight to our car wash fund raiser.  We raised over $400 so far for CHADD and still have lots to raise in the coming months.

Special to the Fort Mill Times - news@fortmilltimes.com FORT MILL TOWNSHIP --

You would never know looking at Miss South Carolina International 2011, Chelsea Gregory, or Miss South Carolina Teen International 2011, Avery Close, that either young lady is challenged by a learning disorder.

But they are.

Both Avery and Chelsea have a learning barrier called Attention Deficit Disorder and both girls are working very hard to raise awareness in the state of South Carolina and hopefully, on a national level if they win their national titles in July at the Miss International Pageant hosted in Chicago. Each girl has a unique story in how they have managed to overcome their disability in order to achieve their dreams and goals and are taking their story on the road to help as many people as they can.

Attention Deficit Disorder is the most commonly diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder found in children. Half of all children with attention deficit disorder also suffer from additional learning disabilities. Many do not understand the disorder or what causes it. And for those who have it, that fact can be very frustrating.

“People can’t see the disorder and just think those of us with it are hyper or dumb. That is not the case. Many are extremely bright with very high IQ’s. We just learn differently and have issues that create obstacles which we must learn to work around,” says Chelsea, a senior communications major at Gardner Webb University.

The International Pageant System was created to showcase the accomplishments of young women. It has very high standards and those who compete must be of high moral character. Not only are these young ladies pretty, they are smart, ambitious and dedicated to a platform of their choosing. They are expected to make a difference in whatever platform they choose and dedicate many volunteer hours to their cause.

Chelsea and Avery have a lot in common. Both girls are from the Fort Mill area: Avery is a junior at Nation Ford High School; they are S.C. International state titleholders and both have had to overcome from ADD. That is why they decided to work together on the same platform and raise money for CHADD, the organization that supports people with attention deficit disorder.

The girls are national affiliates for CHADD and are dedicating their time to raising money to support that organization. They are also members of CHADD and have been invited to speak at the CHADD National Conference in Orlando, Fla., in November.

Two events the community can participate in are a car wash and bake sale this Saturday, May 28, across from the Peach Stand on Hwy. 160 West and July 10, when an “International Send Off Fund Raiser” will be held at the Anne Springs Close Greenway Dairy Barn. A silent auction and other donation opportunities will be available.

We love having our community support us.  Later this month, on June 18th, we will be at a workshop for mental health and I will be the key note speaker.  Then on June 20th, both sister queens Avery, Elizabeth and I will be traveling to Columbia, SC for a visit and princess party at the Palmetto Health Children's Hospital.  I will be reading the book, "When Donkeys Fly" and then Avery, Elizabeth and I will be making crafts with the children.  Crowns for the girls and Sheilds of Knighthood for the boys.  It should be another rewarding appearance.  Can't wait!  Until then, keep a smile on your face!

Chelsea Gregory
Miss South Carolina International 2011