Name: Cameron Smith
Title: Miss Apple Blossom Festival
Saving Lives Through Lexie’s Legacy Children Miracle Network Hospitals
Every four minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. In October 2011, my dad was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. The disease affects the body’s ability to create healthy blood cells and the only cure is a bone marrow transplant. At that time I began my personal journey to transform his adversity into a cure. Time was of the essence.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals admit 62 children every minute. In May of 1993 my family was hit with this shocking statistic. This is when my sister Lexie was born. A joyful day, turned very dark when Lexie was born prematurely with a number of health issues. Her medical problems required constant care, and the three short years of her life were spent in and out of Children’s Miracle Network hospitals which provided comfort, treatment and hope to our family.
There are 170 children’s hospitals across the United States and Canada and donations support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all to save and improve the lives of thousands of children. Whether they suffer from common childhood afflictions like asthma and broken bones, or fight bigger challenges like birth defects, traumatic injury or cancer, they need funds and people who raise awareness on the importance of what they offer to families with this hardship.
My goal is continue being a spokesperson for the Children’s Miracle Network and continue promoting awareness through fundraisers in Virginia communities. I have organized benefits such as a car wash, yard sale, team and dinner events, and raised close to $3000 in the past year. It is important to give back to an organization that has given so much to my family. One child enters a Children’s Miracle Network hospital every second, and though I might not be able to change that figure I can try to ensure that children and families are able to receive needed care that can lead to brighter days. I have been able to reach hundreds of children and adults through the Boys and Girls Clubs and Girls Inc., to discuss the roles they can play in helping others. It is my hope it will inspire them to volunteer and collect donations for their local CMN hospital to purchase medical equipment, educational tools, therapeutic toys, and even help cover in-home care costs.
For three years Lexie struggled for her life but lost her battle after her second double lung transplant. A room has been named for Lexie at the local Ronald McDonald House. We decorate it every year for the Christmas season.
As Miss Apple Blossom Festival my marketing strategy is to continue spreading awareness about CMNH across the Commonwealth and will work with the organization’s media sponsors on IHOP’s national Pancake Day and Dairy Queen’s Miracle Treat Day. The Miss America Organization and Lexie’s Legacy has afforded me the voice to be a light for these children who are not able to shine on their own.