Sarah Morreim Photography

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pillager School.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to speak at Pillager School about my platform, Alzheimer's. Pillager is a Kindergarten-12th grade school, so I was able to speak to a variety of students without leaving the building.

I first spoke to the staff. I told them story and what I planned on doing in the classroom. I opened it up to questions and allowed them to knock down the stereotypes they had of Alzheimer's disease. I also raised a few dollars for Children's Miracle Network, the national platform of the Miss America Organization.

The day was packed with many classes! I spoke to kids as young as kindergarten to teenagers my age. This was the fourteenth school that I spoken in and I have never left a school not feeling empowered. Even if only one child walks away from my presentation feeling inspired and they learned something new, then I accomplished my goal. That one child could grow up to be the scientist that finds a cure for Alzheimer's.

I can now officially say that I've signed an arm and a shoe :)

Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen 2012

Signing autographs. 

One of the many classes that I spoke to.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cake and beads.

Saturday I was up bright and early to go to the cake-off at the Westgate Mall in Brainerd. The Cake-off is an event put on by the Miss Brainerd/Baxter committee and is the first time that the community gets to see the contestants that are competing in the pageant that year. Last year, they had professional cake decorators decorating the cakes, but this year they put a new twist on it! The contestants and titleholders got to decorate the cakes this year. It was so much fun! I was decorating a cake with my former sister queen, Savannah.We put all four of the Brainerd/Baxter queens on our cake (both Miss and Outstanding Teen). It was also fun to see the ideas that other people had thought up of as well.

Saturday night I headed down to Minneapolis for the twentieth annual Alzheimer's Gala hosted by the Minnesota-North Dakota Alzheimer's Association. The event was held at The Depot, an old train station that has been renovated. This was an absolutely beautiful and perfect place for the Gala this year. My mom and I volunteered and we were assigned to sell beads for a game at the end of the night with a prize of a trip to Mexico! Also that night, we were assigned as "flagers" for the live auction. We had a group of tables and if someone wanted to bid, we had to wave our flag really fast so that the auctioneer could see that that person wanted to place a bid. I was amazed at how much people were willing to bid! The highest selling item of the live auction was VIP tickets and hotel to the Ellen DeGeneres show... It went for almost $20,000!! I was so happy and surprised. There were also tickets to the Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw concert. I wanted to go to that concert so bad, but it is a sold out concert all over the US! Congrats to the winners and thanks for being so willing to donate so much money for such a worth while cause.

As fun as the night was, one moment sticks out in my head, and that was the last fifteen minutes of the evening. I watched in awe as a room of 900 people raised over $75,000 in just a couple minutes, and I'm not kidding. The auctioneer asked if anyone was willing to donate anymore money before the night was over, and I kid-you-not, the auctioneer could not keep up with the numbers as people were willingly donating $5000, $1000, $500, and $250. There was even an anonymous family that donated $10,000! I walked away that night a changed person, simply because of the generous people who gratefully give their money to help families like mine. I couldn't hold the tears I had been fighting back anymore.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in America and is the only one of the Top Ten diseases that has no cure or any form of prevention. It is also the one that is growing the most is numbers, yet it is the most underfunded. How can a disease that robs so many victims of their memories and personalities be so underfunded and unknown about. It's frustrating for a teenager like myself to see this disease slowly take my father's life and have no way to stop it.

So as you read this blog, I ask one thing of you. Please take a couple minutes and think of the people who you love the most and thank them. Tell them you love them before it's too late and cherish the simplicity of receiving a response, something I didn't do before my father's diagnosis.

Life is way to short to hold grudges and be vicious towards one another. I hope all of you take a step back for a few moments and really think about whats important in life.

All the best,
Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

LAMAA Dementia Conference.

On Tuesday, I spoke at the Lake's Area Memory Awareness Advocates (LAMAA) conference at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. I gave a little session on the "Teen Perspective" of Alzheimer's. Although the registration numbers weren't as high as hoped, it was still great to be there and speak with people who understand how difficult Alzheimer's disease is. My Mom is a member of LAMAA and through her I've been able to get connected with even more people in my community who are dealing with the effects of Alzheimer's.

Also that night was a dinner for the doctors in the Brainerd Lakes Area. I wasn't able to attend because of my presentation, but I was told that it went extremely well! Basically, this dinner was to educate our area doctors on Alzheimer's and give them tools to give their patients more information on Alzheimer's and dementia. Getting our doctors in tune to how big of a problem this is is instrumental in ending this awful disease.

I also would also like to wish my mom a very happy birthday! This woman is my best friend and does so much for me. Thank you, Mom and I love you!

With love,
Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

A week in the life of Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen!

I'm so blessed to be able to wear a crown that holds so much power and opens so many doors. This weekend was so much fun and packed full of event after event! 

I headed down to Minneapolis on Thursday last week to met with Lori Le Bay, an Alzheimer's advocate and creator of Alzheimer's Speaks radio to talk about what kinds of things she has found through her journey dealing with Alzheimer's. Her mother has Alzheimer's, so I can definitely relate to her and what she is going through. She talked about the program she created and wanted me on her radio show. I'm scheduled to talk on Alzheimer's Speaks radio on June 7th! I'll make sure to post it for you all to hear. 
After meeting with Lori, I visited the Alzheimer's Association in Minneapolis. It was great seeing their new building and seeing the awesome ladies that work there. I also had training to be a volunteer at their annual gala that will be this Saturday night. I'm really excited because this is the first year that I've been able to attend!
Then came one of the most fun days so far! Friday was the Governor's Fishing Opener in Waconia! I was born there and still have family that lives there so for the Governor's Fishing Opening to be right in my hometown this year was great. In the morning, I was helping the 4th graders of Bayview Elementary with all things fishing. The DNR had set up stations for them so that they could learn how to cast, tie a knot, and the right ways to stay safe. The Waconia Conservation Club was also helping out. After they had completed the sessions, the 4th graders got to go fishing off of the city park dock. All they caught were sun fish, but it was great seeing how excited they got.

Towards the middle of the day, I visited the residents of the Lighthouse senior living facility. They are currently remodeling, and I was given a tour. This building is absolutely incredible and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for assisted living. I was also able to go to the Betty's Harbor unit of the facility and sign autographs for everyone.

No down time for this girl that day... after the Lighthouse I grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the city park where all of the real action was taking place. I helped with some of the kid's crafts, and walked around for a bit. I was amazed at how many people showed up! When Governor Mark Dayton arrived, that's when you truly saw how many people came.

I can now say that I've filleted a fish! Also that Friday, I was in a fish filleting contest with a local surgeon, Todd Elftmann, and a MN Viking, Phil Loadholt! I'm sad to say my team didn't win, but I did walk away with a brand new Rapala filleting knife :) 

Letroy Guion and Phil Loadholt of the MN Vikings
Funny story: I was talking with a DNR officer about how nervous I was to fillet and he (in a joking manner) asked if I wanted to switch places with him so that he would be filleting the fish instead of myself. I said sure, thinking that sounded good to me. So a few minutes before the competition started, Roland gave me his DNR vest and hat and I crowned him with my crown and sash! It was too funny!! He started filleting the fish, but wanting to get in on the action, I asked him for the knife and I started filleting the rest of the fish! Needless to say my hands smelled like fish for a while, but I didn't chicken out!

Saturday morning I was up and out to Coon Rapids for their Bean Bag Toss Fundraiser! It was a great event and it was good to see some familiar pageant faces, some I hadn't seen in a while. I even got sun burnt, which means summer if officially here!

After the fundraiser I worked on national paperwork for a while, and is crazy to think that I'm actually competing at Miss America's Outstanding Teen! Orlando here I come! :)

Sunday morning was another early morning to head to the Mall of America for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure breast cancer walk. I was amazed at how big of an event this was! I hear that it is one of the largest in the country. Thousands of people gathered under one roof for a common cause, and I was honored to be apart of it.

Today I was with my Brainerd/Baxter sisters promoting the upcoming Cake-Off at the Westgate Mall! More details later, but if are interested in coming tickets are $4 for unlimited cake. Come if you are able this Saturday!

All the best,
Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Some realizations..

Since I haven't blogged in a while, I thought I'd post a little something that was one of those "it's-two-in-the-morning-and-I-can't-sleep" realizations.

I know that most of you know my pageant story and how I competed 4 times before winning the Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen title, so I won't go into much detail on that. But what I've realized is that my story is unique and I've learned quite a few things along the way. I wanted to share some of those things for the young women who feel like they will never win a title because they've competed so many times. I've been in your shoes and it's not easy. Not placing is hard, but being a runner up is just as hard knowing that you were so close to winning you could almost taste it.

So here are some word for those needing a little pick-me-up :)

Good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
You're beautiful simply because you embrace your flaws.
Love deeply and forgive quickly.
God doesn't give you anything you can't handle.
Never be content with being average.
Learn to take the good with the bad.
There's always someone out there that has it worse than you.
The higher you are, the harder you fall.
It's okay to not be perfect.
Everything changes you in some way, even the small things.
You only live once so make it count.
Here's to the future, be done with the past.
Always aim to be strong, not skinny.
Sometimes, all it takes is another chance to get things right.
You are perfectly imperfect,
So trust in a higher power.
Surround yourself with positive people.
Life doesn't have a purpose unless you let it.
Change is inevitable.
Nothing is harder to resist that a smile, they're contagious!
Strength is something you choose,
So fight your way through the hurt.
And most importantly,
Life is God's novel... Let Him write it!

There's a reason what you're here and that should be enough to wake up in the morning.
With love,
Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen 2012