Sidney was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma on March 5, 2012 at the age of 16. Sidney is a Senior at Jackson County Comprehensive High School in Jefferson, GA. She is a varsity football cheerleader, and is very active in the youth group at Pond Fork Baptist Church.
Her first treatment of chemotherapy was postponed until after Sidney's 17th birthday on March 20th. She is in very good hands and will be taken care of at the Aflac Cancer Center at Egleston Children's Hosptal in Atlanta by Dr. Thomas Olson and his team. She will go through 12 weeks of intense chemotherapy going once every two weeks and alternating between two day stays and five days stays. Near the end of 12 weeks it will be determined if she will have to have surgery and/or radiation to remove the tumors. Then she will continue another 22 weeks of chemotherapy on the same schedule as the first 12 weeks.
I received a message one day from one of our mamas, Marisa Dale, telling me about a special little girl who had a rare blood disorder and whose dream was to be in a pageant. She sent me to her Facebook page, Prayers for Emma. I fell in love with this little girl.
Emma Routh is spunky, fun loving 8-year-old girl that like so many other girls her age - have an affinity for Hello Kitty and Justin Bieber. However, unlike her peers Emma is battling fanconi anemia – a rare blood disorder that leads to bone marrow failure. While accompanying her family to her baby brother’s doctor visit several years ago, the pediatrician noticed that Emma was not growing and ordered a chromosomal breakage test that led to the diagnosis. Emma has bravely undergone chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant and continues to surpass milestones that defy her physician’s original prognosis.
The decision was made to make this beautiful little girl our next "Queen for the Day", even though she lives in Texas!
Big plans were made. BIG.
Emma and her family were to come to Georgia and actually let Emma compete in our October pageant, Miss NE Masquerade. I requested her favorites list from her sweet grandmother, Lisa.
I couldn't believe what I received back.
Lisa told me that Emma was going to be able to compete in the pageant and receive a crown and sash, and that would be what she wanted. She asked for the donations to not go to Emma, but to a nonprofit called TeamKeegan.
Keegan suffered from an inoperable brain tumor. He and his family make beautiful wooden chests and fills them with new toys and mails them out, free of charge, to children going through Chemotherapy. It was such a beautiful concept. Keegan and his family live in Michigan.
So, Here was our plan:
- Emma and her family would come to GA, we would provide accommodations and ask businesses to donate services/items to make their stay enjoyable and comfortable.
- Emma would compete in the pageant in her age group and we would surprise her with crowning her "Queen for the day".
- Keegan would also come to GA. We would provide the same for them.
- Toy donations would start early to try and ensure a substantial amount to be donated to his cause.
Throughout the next 3 months, we worked very hard to make sure toys were donated and businesses were involved. NE worked up a beautiful press release and sent it out to the news outlets for a chance for Emma to also get to leave with being on TV.
Pageant weekend came and here is what we achieved:
- The Super 8 in Helen donated 2 comp. rooms for each family for the entire weekend.
- Fancy Doodle Art and Wine House donated Emma and Keegan any piece of pottery to paint, no matter the cost.
- Alpine Carriage Company donated all the children who came a carriage ride around the city of Helen. Mr. Chris, the owner, also made a surprise appearance and brought each child a horseshoe from the horses. He also explained to them the history of the "good luck" and showed them how to hang them.
- Cafe Cancun out of Cleveland donated free meals to all the families.
- Then, there was one very special thing that took place. One of our parents, Jamie Morris, contacted our Governor. Governor Deal sent a personal letter to Emma, welcoming her to Georgia and thanking her for her selflessness. Jamie owns Morris Music.
- Joe Northrop and his family had been following Emma's FB page for quite some time. Once they found out Emma would be coming to Georgia, Joe set up a beautiful tree planting ceremony to honor Emma. Gainesville Marble and Granite donated a beautiful stone and the city of Helen donated a gorgeous tree. They brought their troop and they planted the tree and it was a beautiful thing. Now, Helen will always host sweet little Emma.
- Donations came in right and left, but a special delivery came to my house from Diamond Dallas. He also owns DDP Yoga, so go check it out!
There are so many pictures I want to share, I will post some here in a row, but don't think this blog is over, there is still a lot more to tell!!!
We had a HUGE surprise that came to pass.Fox 5 Atlanta's, Kaitlyn Pratt, contacted me in response to our press release. They actually came to the pageant and stayed for most of the day, catching some very special moments! Please see the news clip below!
Not only did Channel 5 pick this story up, but about 15 other states did, as well, along with Fox News Channel and Special Report with Bret Baier. Her story went National.
Here are some photos from the pageant....but don't stop reading, we still aren't done!!!
The generosity that surrounded this pageant was so moving and so uplifting! Team Keegan brought a Team Keegan chest for our sweet Sydney, who did not compete with us this time, but was our very special guests!
It was the time and the REASON we were all there....Emma's time.
We brought that little girl up on stage to surprise her with her title! I can promise you this, there was not a dry eye in the house.
Keegan was presented with all his toys and the family couldn't load them all up there were so many. It was a moving and magical day for everyone who was involved. A special thanks to the mamas who had their hands in making sure Emma had OOC, a beauty dress, socks, shoes, hair and anything else that helped make her day phenomenal. Thank you to everyone for all your generous donations to Team Keegan. I was in awe of all the toys that were donated!
And there is one last thing I would like to mention. These 3 girls pictured below did something that most kids...not to mention adults...would have ever thought about doing. They each gave Emma one of their awards to make sure she went home with the best. Anna gave her the mask Supreme rhinestoned mask she won, Harmony gave her Queen trophy and Ariana gave her gold plated Supreme crown. I have something very special planned for these girls.....blog to come!