What I love about writing articles for newspapers and magazines is connecting with people who have inspiring stories to share. I connected with Anni Welborne through an online writers’ group. Her daughter, Stacy, a 12-year-old who suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and sensory processing disorder, was recently crowned the Indiana Miss Amazing Pre-Teen queen. A beautiful young lady on the inside and out, Stacy is raising funds in hopes to attend the Miss Amazing Nationals competition in Chicago June 30-July 4. Read on to learn more about Stacy’s amazing story, and if you feel so inclined, I’ve included a link to contribute to Stacy’s Nationals trip.
When you’re not used to fitting in, how do you confidently walk on a stage to be intentionally judged by others?
It wasn’t easy for Stacy Welborne, a 12-year-old girl from Indiana who has hypotonic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and Sensory Processing Disorder. Stacy does not let her disabilities keep her from making new friends, trying new things and serving as a role model in her community, which lead her to begin competing in the Miss Amazing competition in 2014.
The Miss Amazing pageant encourages confidence and self-esteem in girls with disabilities, enlisting the help of local and state scholarship pageant winners. After losing the first two pageants she competed in, Stacy found it to be a bigger challenge to confidently try again a third time. Miss Indiana USA 2014, Mekayla Diehl, who lost 83 pageants before winning the crown, approached Stacy after her first loss. Her words encouraged Stacy to keep trying again:
“It takes a much stronger girl to lose a pageant and walk out with her head held high than it does to win the crown.”
It’s a good thing Stacy didn’t give up. On Saturday, April 30, Stacy watched the girls in her category, one by one, receive crowns as princesses. Her smile grew wider as she realized she was the only girl left.
Stacy was crowned Indiana’s Miss Amazing Pre-Teen, representing all girls under the age of 13 from Indiana with disabilities.
Anni Welborne, Stacy’s mother, has changed her perspective about pageants after seeing the genuine support and beauty generating through the people her daughter has been introduced to and exposed to through the competitions.
“It’s so much fun to see these girls be celebrated and supported for being beautiful,” Anni said. “They’re being celebrated for being gorgeous inside and out.”
The girls are scored in three categories: interview, presentation on stage and evening gowns. Local pageant winners work with the girls on how to present themselves, spending genuine time with them as they doll them up and mentally prep them. Miss Amazing is not a beauty pageant, rather, the winner is crowned for showing poise and self-confidence.
As the pre-teen queen, Stacy is invited to attend the Nationals competition in Chicago June 30-July 4, where she hopes to reach a bigger crowd of girls like her that she can inspire.
“I hope by going to Nationals I can make more friends and learn more about how to give back to my community.”
Stacy and her sister Christy are well known in their town of West Lafayette, Ind. as “the hug girls”. Honoring veterans and Gold Star mothers is extremely important to Stacy, as she knows her late grandfather was a veteran.
“I can’t hug Grandpa anymore, but I can hug you instead,” Stacy tells veterans at the Purdue airport Honor Flight events, as she and her sister proudly tote a sign declaring “Free Hugs for Veterans”.
The Miss Amazing pageant promotes that beauty has no limits. With an inner desire to serve, give back and reach out to others, Stacy Welborne is the image of beauty.
“It’s not about the dress,” Stacy said. “It’s about your inner self.”
Stacy is currently working fundraisers to support her trip to Nationals. You can support her by making a donation on her Go Fund Me page. Let’s help Stacy make more amazing things happen in Chicago!