Mom organizes pageant for people with special needs

Sunday, January 20, 2013
Summer and Chaundra Mason after participating the 2011 Angels Pageant in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (Submitted photo)
Summer Mason and other participants at the 2011 Angels Pageant held in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (Submitted photo ~ Chaundra Mason)

By the time Summer Mason was 12 months old, she had two liver transplants and multiple other surgeries. Summer was born with biliary atresia, a life-threatening disease in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not have normal openings.

Summer's first transplant was unsuccessful due to artery clotting. Soon after the second transplant her parents, Chaundra and Michael, were told the same artery had clotted again. Doctors also said that a lack of oxygen to Summer's brain would result in her never being able to walk, talk or communicate. They were given little hope for survival. Chaundra and Michael knew that their daughter was a fighter, and they would continue to fight for her and with her.

During a routine ultrasound just a few days after this horrific news, the ultrasound technician made an amazing discovery: the clogged hepatic artery had opened.

"I knew that God didn't give her two transplants to just die," said Chaundra, who called the change "an absolute miracle."

Although the road has been tough for the family of seven, they said they can't imagine life without Summer, who has epilepsy and is developmentally challenged. She is now 18 years old, walks, talks and attends public school at Scott City.

Ultimately it was Summer who has inspired the first Angels Pageant for special needs people in the area.

Chaundra is co-chairwoman of an upcoming pageant, S.E Missouri Angels. Summer participated in the pageant in October of 2011 that was held in Poplar Bluff, Mo. After being so pleased with the pageant, she has organized one to be held in Scott City this spring at Scott City High School. This pageant will require no entry fee, and every contestant is a winner.

"As a mother to a special-needs child, I understand that fees for pageant entries aren't always in the budget. We want everyone to be able to participate," Chaundra said.

The Angels Pageant System was founded by B.J. Thorn. Two of Thorn's daughters were involved in pageants, but her daughter Andrea, who is a special-needs child, was not able to participate. One day Andrea asked if she could be in a pageant and soon after B.J. formed Arkansas Angels, which would spread throughout the United States and become known as Angels Pageant Systems.

The pageants sponsored by this organization are for people of any age with a special need. The Southeast Missouri Angels Pageant will take place at 2 p.m. on April 27 at the Scott City High School. This is the first-ever Angels Systems pageant in the area. The organization is taking entries as well as looking for sponsors for the event. The goals is to raise enough for each contestant to enter for free and so that every child will be crowned with their own title. If you are interested in sponsoring a child or the event, please contact Chaundra Mason at 573-979-2877.

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