The term Beauty with a Purpose needs to be defined.
Beauty with a Purpose is the foundation and the core of the MISS WORLD Organization, created by Julia Morley in 1972 and has led to “hundreds of millions of pounds have been raised and donated to local and international organizations in aid of disadvantaged children.”
Each delegate is passionate about a different set of causes or has an experience that makes her driven to raise awareness about that specific experience. Depending on how much the delegate is willing to share about her passion to the cause, her efforts could include public speaking, fundraising, protesting, educating through seminars or workshops, and aligning herself with organizations that have the same values as she does. The delegates of MISS WORLD currently operate in over 100 countries, and have given tens of thousands of young women the chance to make a lasting contribution of those around them and those whom may be at a disadvantage. I am proud to be a delegate of Miss World Canada, vying to represent Canada at MISS WORLD 2017 and my Beauty with a Purpose I am passionate about from experience. I am an advocate for concussion prevention, and head injury awareness.
In the media, there is a burst of information around professional athletes and the long-term implications that a hit to the head can have on that person, their family, and the team. I know firsthand the impact that concussions and head injuries can have on a person. I have played sports my entire life and have had multiple concussions, and know people who have had their lives instantly changed due to a concussion or a head injury. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with who I am, what I have overcome, and I am finally strong enough and confident in myself to share it publicly.
I experienced a traumatic birth that fractured my skull and lead to permanent brain damage. My parents explained to me that I was on medication to prevent seizures because of the swelling and the hematoma where my fracture occurred. Although, I do not remember any of this as a baby, I do remember seeing photos of me in the hospital when I was born being hooked up to multiple leads that would monitor everything and anything.
When I was in elementary school in Ontario I remember questioning why I didn’t pick things up as quickly as my younger brother or sister. A tutor explained that in a brick wall I was missing one or two foundation bricks that I needed. My tutor would try to bribe me with those lovely mint Aero bars if I would do the question properly. I would tell my tutor I would try, most of the time I would be correct, but those few times I could not get it my tutor would push and push and push, but I physically just could not do it. It was hard for me. I felt stupid. I was never a horrible student, I have always done well, but just not as well as my siblings- and that was the hardest part for me.
I succeed through elementary, junior high, and high school as an honours student, but it took a lot of work and commitment to combating what my parents, tutors, and I thought was dyslexia. In my second year of my undergraduate degree my parents and I decided we should make a conscious effort to attempting to see if there was a correlation between my skull fracture at birth and the struggles through my education. I went through multiple six hour sessions of cognitive and non-cognitive behavioural testing at the University of Calgary, and we did find there was a connection between my skull fracture and what we believed was dyslexia. I am not dyslexic. I have suffered from permanent brain damage since birth. When we received the results from my testing, I tested in the 80 percentile and higher- but in the areas where I experienced my skull fracture I tested in the seventh and thirteenth percentiles.
I heard Melinda Bam, Miss Universe South Africa 2012 say “We are not a product of our circumstance, but rather a product of our choosing”. Once I heard her say this I feel that my outlook on life completely changed. I do not know what life would be like any other way. I question how I would be different if I did not experience a fractured skull at birth, being on medication as a baby, having concussions, or thinking I was dyslexic for 19 years of my life. But I am thankful at the same time for these variables. I believe that a person needs to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses to develop skills that are adaptable these weaknesses and play on their strengths. I have developed a work ethic that I pride myself on because of my circumstance, but for those who have had their lives alter in an instant once they have discovered who they are I cannot imagine the adversity they will have to overcome. I believe that just as Melinda Bam said, we can choose. We can choose to be something other than what our circumstance deems us to be.
My Beauty with a Purpose is to raise awareness on the impacts that head injuries can have long-term on individuals- specifically children. I am working with organizations to encourage people to recognizing the importance of head injuries when they happen. I am confident that I will be able to allow parents to acknowledge that head injuries need to be taken seriously in children so that they do not become a product of a circumstance, but if they do, they can choose to take the proper steps to adapt to their circumstance.
I cannot wait to see where this year takes me and the people that I will meet on this journey.