Teen with epilepsy crowned Miss Dallas Teen USA, and her service dog gets a little crown too



Alison Appleby, a teenager from Sherman, never thought of competing in a pageant. However, when somebody pointed out that she wouldn't be able to do it because of her epilepsy, she decided to participate to prove them wrong. The 17-year-old was crowned Miss Dallas Teen USA 2022 and her service dog, Brady, was up on the stage with her for the announcement, reported NBC DFW. They put a big smile on everyone's face when the dog was also crowned and they walked down the runway together. Appleby claims that Brady has been warning her of impending seizures since she received her epilepsy diagnosis two years ago. The golden retriever is being trained to eventually bring her medication.



She explained that someone overheard a conversation she was having about pageants and they told her she can't do it, "because you have a disability, and pageant girls don't have disabilities." Appleby set out to disprove them. She went to Dallas with little expectations, yet her winning nature propelled her to the top. The judges informed her that the crown was won during the pageant's interview segment. Appleby said, "One of the things that got them, that made them stop writing and look at me, like 'did you really just say that?' and something I tell a lot of people, is 'just because I have a chronic illness, doesn't mean I'm chronically ill." Throughout the pageant, Brady assisted both Alison and her mother.

Beth Appleby, her mother, said, "They don't let the parents anywhere near the rehearsal or anything. I wasn't nervous because she has Brady, who takes good care of her." Finally, Miss Dallas Teen USA 2021 gave Appleby the crown, and Miss Dallas USA 2021 gave Brady a miniature crown after awarding her with a sash. Alison and Brady's next trip will be to Houston in May 2023 to attend the Miss Texas competition. She will participate in charitable activities and gatherings in the interim. For five years running, Appleby has been the overall fundraising champion for the "Walk to End Alzheimer's" event.

She aims to motivate people with comparable difficulties by competing in archery at the Youth Olympic Games. She hopes to work in the field of pediatric neurology and focus on researching the pediatric type of dementia known as Sanfilippo Syndrome.

Previously, Miss Virginia Victoria Chuah used the platform to talk about people with disabilities. She is working for increasing awareness of adult autism inspired by her brother, Luke, who is on the autism spectrum. She told Catholic Herald, "That inspired so much of my Miss Virginia social impact initiative. As he’s become an adult, it’s clear how few programs there are for adults with autism and my family has discovered how difficult that has been to navigate." Loudoun Therapeutic Riding and SourceAmerica, which assists those with disabilities in finding employment, are two organizations she tries to support and promote. Disabilities are often not focused on in beauty pageants but women like these are trying to change the status quo.




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