God has blessed me so much! I never would have guessed so many amazing opportunities would come my way when I was crowned Miss South Carolina International 2011 in March. Since that day, my life has forever changed beginning with the ability to reach other people and touch the lives of those who have a loved one who also suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder. My first goal was to become a spokesperson or national affiliate for CHADD which is the organization that I have volunteered for since 2008 with my first pageant. CHADD supports parents, people and educators who deal with Attention Deficit Disorder. I was awarded the opportunity to use CHADD for my National Platform and have even been asked to speak at their National Conference in Orlando, Florida in November.
Once I had my affiliation with CHADD, I began speaking to anyone and everyone who would listen to the message I have which is that people with ADHD are suffering from a real disorder. It is usually accompanied by other learning disabilities and can severely affect daily life for those who have it.
My CHADD affiliation and Mentoring position with Gardner-Webb University's Noel Special Needs Program have kept me busy. I have spoken to The Lake Wylie Master Mind Group, at the Girl's Voice Conference for the Mental Health Association of Central Carolina and have raised money through a car wash, an appearance at the What a Girl Wants Event and our Send Off Event at the Fort Mill Golf Club in Fort Mill, SC. I have also visited the children of Palmetto Children's Hospital, read to the children of Baxter Village at their Easter Egg Hunt, and have rounded up over 100 donated prom and pageant gowns that will go to patients of Levine Children's Hospital's prom hosted by the Sandbox Organization in September.
I am also partnering with the producers of Charlotte Fashion Week, helping to do anything from judge a model competition to attend various meetings and events that support the upcoming week. I have been a guest at the Miss Motor Speedway National Pageant in Kentucky, thrown the first pitch at the Charlotte Knights Baseball game, appeared at the Bobcats Basketball Game during Nascar week, I figured that I have volunteered over 190 hours and averaged 1 to 2 appearances a week since my crowning. And I have loved every single minute of it. I have had press coverage that has been outstanding. Especially since each story has highlighted my desire to make changes in our educational system where Attention Deficit Disorder is concerned.
But I do have to thank 3 more people. My dad, my mom and my brother who have supported, encouraged and helped me realize this dream in such a short period of time! I have matured, improved, focused and realized such growth that would not have come from any other opportunity. And the best part is that I am not even close to being done. I have a lot more that I want to do! So, be prepared to hear more in the coming months. And for now, as I leave for my national pageant I ask God to help me focus on what is truly important. Allowing His light to shine through me.
Chelsea Rae Gregory
Miss South Carolina International 2011