In Minneapolis is happening something that for someone – or many – may sound impossible, or just a dream: competing in a pageant and get awards and success even if you are affected from Down’s Syndrome. Too good to be true? No, too good to not keep going and give concrete signals of hope to anyone who were once kept afar, but now can be an active part of the society. This is happening thanks to people who believe in them and people who never give up if they encounter tough challenges.
This is the story of Mikayla Holmgren, 22 year-old, with Down syndrome but who won her bottle against prejudice and marginalization, and has been reaching a lot of achievements, despite her condition.
For the record, Down syndrome (sometimes called Down’s syndrome) is a condition in which a child is born with an extra copy of their 21st chromosome. This causes physical and mental developmental delays and disabilities. Many of the disabilities are lifelong, and they can also shorten life expectancy. However, people with Down syndrome can live healthy and fulfilling lives. And Mikayla is demonstrating the whole world this is real and possible.
Mikayla is a dancer since she was 6, she’s been studying at the university and in 2015 was crowned Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing (a pageant for disadvantaged people). But this year 2017 Mikayla reached a big stunning goal: she competed in Miss Minnesota USA pageant – a ‘normal one’ and won the Spirit of Miss USA Award and Director’s Award, receiving a standing ovation as she accepted them.
This is what she said on Facebook:
“My passion is dancing. I have danced since I was 6 years old. I have been on dance troupes and am currently on the Bethel University Dance Team. I choreograph my own dances and have won awards. I have performed at competitions, fundraisers, halftime shows and most recently at the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in front of 2500 people (I was asked to be an Ambassador for them). I also enjoy drawing and painting, gymnastics, horseback riding and golf.
I was crowned Minnesota Miss Amazing Junior Miss in 2015 and loved it. I was able to go to Nationals in LA and compete there. I love the hair and makeup and wearing a pretty gown. I love the stage. When I got the application in the mail for Miss Minnesota USA, I asked my mom to let me do it. I applied online and was excited when I got the acceptance letter. I want to be able to show others what inclusion is all about, that someone with special needs can go after their dreams.
I hope to continue dancing. I want to teach art to young children. And would love to model. I want to live independently and continue to be an advocate for inclusion. I want to be a light shining for acceptance.”
It’s time for the world to open the mind and accept people who can actually be considered normal and amazingly unique (like anyone should be on the other hand – Ed.).
Mikayla never gave up and doesn’t want to stop now to fulfil her dreams. Can you say the same for yourself too, whatever is your challenge?