IMG_0768“Hello summer”   The sun is out!  So that means going to the lake for weekends and holidays!!!  I love my home here in Spruce Grove but I have to admit, it’s so nice spending time at my lake, Lac des Isles, SK!  There are no bad days at the lake.  If it’s hot and sunny, then you go on the boat.  You can wakeboard, waterski, wakesurf, tube, kneeboard, or just swim!  Even if it’s raining or storming, you can spend some time in the trailer or cabin.  You can read a book, take a nap in the middle of the day, play cards, or just eat some food!  Enjoy any time you have at the lake!

 

IMG_1671 (1)I am very fortunate for the things I have at our lake.  For instance, my family’s boat is an amazing part of our summer.  I still remember learning how to waterski behind it.  IMG_1687We would sit off a dock then yell HIT IT to tell my dad we were ready to go.  Once I mastered waterskiing it was on to wakeboarding!  Next came learning how to wakesurf.   CIMG2672I prefer wakesurfing more than all of the other water sports for two reasons; its like surfing in the ocean except easier and when you fall it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as when you fall on the wakeboard!

 

IMG_1639After a long morning of water sports it’s always nice to kick back for a bit.  At Lac des Isles the water is so clear that you can see all the way past your toes!  CIMG2682What better way to finish off the day than with a fun tube ride!  The only downside is the crash!

 

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Living life at the lake is what I look forward to in the summer!

 

Thank you for keeping up with my blogs and make sure to keep checking in for more posts to come!

Written by: Alexandra
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“Keep calm and donate blood” – unknown author.  Lately I have received a lot of questions regarding Hereditary Hemochromatosis.  Since my platform is about spreading awareness about this disorder, I thought it would be a good idea to blog about it!  So please enjoy this post about Hereditary Hemochromatosis and why I’ve chosen it as my platform.  At the end, if you still have some unanswered questions please feel free to leave a comment!  Let’s begin!

IMG_1606 (1)Hereditary Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder where “there is excessive and potentially toxic accumulation of dietary iron in the body.”*  You can only have the disorder if you have both of the chromosomes, or both genes.  If you have only one chromosome, then you are a ‘carrier’ of the disorder.  In this case, you will never have the disorder but you can possibly pass it along to your children.

Hemo Booth“Hemochromatosis is Canada’s most common genetic disorder and is most prevalent in Canadians of European, Nordic and Celtic descent. One in 300 Canadians has the condition. Those with hemochromatosis are genetically unable to metabolize iron absorbed from their diet. Men and women are equally affected. Harmful iron overload occurs in joints, the liver, pancreas, heart, brain and endocrine glands. Left unrecognized and undiagnosed, the consequences of too much iron can be prolonged, severe and fatal.”*

IMG_1747“Hemochromatosis cannot be cured, however, early testing, diagnosis and treatment for the disorder can reduce or eliminate most of the severe complications, which include arthritis, diabetes, heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. Diagnosis is made through blood tests and genetic testing. Treatment is simple: frequent and regular removal of blood. This blood is suitable for donation.”*

IMG_1067“The burden of undiagnosed hemochromatosis in Canada results in avoidable costs to the health care system of premature chronic diseases, the financial loss to families due to disability and the preventable loss of loved ones.”*

The Edmonton Chapter of the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society (CHS) invites you to attend its monthly meetings.  Please see the “Events” section of the CHS website www.toomuchiron.ca for location and times.

CIMG2478Three generations of my family have been affected by Hereditary Hemochromatosis; myself, my mother, and my grandmother.  My grandmother was the first to suffer from this disorder, however it took 10 years to finally be diagnosed.  The reason I’ve chosen this as my platform is simple; I want to spread awareness so that future generations will not be subjected to years of frustration trying to find a proper diagnosis.  It should not have taken 10 years for my grandmother to be diagnosed!

IMG_0961.JPGAfter my grandmother was diagnosed, her husband was tested for Hereditary Hemochromatosis.  He was found to be a carrier which lead to their children’s tests.  When my mother found out that she had the disorder she contacted the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society for information and support.

The society’s goal is the same as mine; to spread awareness.  When I received my title as Miss Teenage Spruce Grove I was honoured to become a part of their team!  Through volunteering and public speaking at events, I feel that I have been able to help educate people in my community about the disorder.  I hope to continue my work with the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about this disorder and how you can help you can visit either my Facebook page or the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society Facebook page at the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/MissTeenageSpruceGrove2015

www.facebook.com/TooMuchIron

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and educating yourself about Hereditary Hemochromatosis.  It is very important to me and to others that we spread awareness.

*Information courtesy of the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society.

Written by: Alexandra
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“Mentors give you perspective, sponsors give you opportunities” -Cate Huston.  I am very grateful for the help my sponsors have provided.  I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and give credit for what they have done for me!

My very first sponsor was TJ from Aneca Photography.  She took photos for both the provincial and the national competitions.  She is truly an amazing photographer and an amazing role model!  I admire her work and I am so honoured to have worked with her.9536-web9765-web9244-web

 

 

 

 

 

photo (1)I would like to thank Todd Rattee with “Provin’ It” wear who helped me fundraise for Cardiac Kids at the provincial competition.  I sold homemade cookies, hand knitted scarves and Provin It t-shirts and raised  $1100 for Cardiac Kids!!

IMG_0982A great addition to my sponsor team was CaroleAnne Sluchinski from Mirror Image Decals & Signs.  She and her daughter Renee were eager to sponsor me with my very own Miss Teenage Spruce Grove banner! IMG_1107I have been able to use the banner for multiple events.  For example, the Farmers Day Parade, the many Hemochromatosis Society booths, and at the two silent auctions for Free The Children!  Having Renee and CarolAnne sponsor me for this has been extremely helpful, thank you Renee and CarolAnne!

IMG_1158 (1)Zender Ford was another one of my generous sponsors!  They kindly donated a Mustang convertible for me to use during the Farmers Day parade!  Not only were we able to use the mustang for the parade but we were able to keep it for the whole weekend!!  I think that I might be sold on that car and would buy one for myself one day!

Finding a dress for nationals was not easy.  We spent countless hours of shopping online, in the mall, and at any other store with the word ‘dress’ in the title!  Finally, at Ethos Bridal in West Edmonton Mall I found the perfect one!  The owner generously sponsored us so we only paid a fraction of the cost! Thank you so much Ethos Bridal!!

For my Free The Children fundraising, businesses from around Spruce Grove generously donated items toward my silent auctions.  They were a huge success!  I’d like to thank the following businesses for donating:  Chatters, Second Cup, Canadian Brewhouse, The Beer Hunter, Gold Medal Costumes, Jack’s, Spruce Grove Flowers and Gifts, Perks Coffee house, State & Maine, Cheesecake Cafe, M&M meat shops, McDonalds and Safeway, Michelle’s Tupperware.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped me on my quest to Miss Teenage Canada!

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more fun blogs!

Written by: Alexandra
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Canada has shown the world how to balance freedom with compassion and tradition with innovation, in your efforts to provide healthcare to all your citizens, to treat your senior citizens with the dignity and respect they deserve… ~1995 Bill Clinton Address to Canadian House of Commons.  

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My mom and dad enjoying a morning kayak at our favourite summer spot; Lauman’s Landing at beautiful Lac des Isle, SK

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This is my dad when he was a little boy! These are the majestic Rocky Mountains of BC!

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Our family loves to downhill ski in the winter. This is a breathtaking picture from Kimberly Ski Resort.

What makes Canada special?  Where do I start?  Our constitution states that every citizen has fundamental freedoms; the right to vote, the right to leave, enter, or remain in Canada, and the right to life, liberty, and security.  Our justice system may not be perfect but it is still better than some countries.  Not to mention our natural resources, vast spaces and diverse landscapes!  It is so difficult to focus on just one thing that makes Canada great, but I choose to focus on a factor that is personal to me, the health care system of Canada.

I believe that it is our healthcare system that makes Canada special.  So special, that other countries are trying to achieve the same level of health care as we have.  Canada’s incredible heath care system is dear to me because my close cousin Teagan recently had a brain tumor removed.  She and her family were able to focus on her health and not worry about the financial burden that a surgery of that magnitude would incur.  I cannot imagine a life without Teagan!

Teagan was on her clinical rotation in her first year of nursing at the University of Regina when she fainted.  It was not like a normal fainting spell, she fell like a tree – straight over!  She broke off her front tooth and the doctors felt she had a bad concussion.  A few days later, she was still not feeling well and after a CT scan followed by an MRI the doctors confirmed that she had a tumor in her brain.  We were all very scared!  She completed her final exams in April (passing them all by the way – so amazing considering the stress she was under) and on April 30th she had her surgery.

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Hours after her surgery! Wow!

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The incision – yikes! Yes, those are staples!

The surgery took place at the University of Saskatchewan and with the expertise of top notch surgeons like Dr. Wu and with the help of the latest technology, her surgery went great!  Incredibly, Teagan was able to go home on May 5th.

 

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One month after surgery! Isn’t she beautiful!

Today she is cancer free and can continue living her life!  Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone in our world.  Many families cannot afford the medical attention that their loved ones need.  You never know when something traumatic could happen that could change or end your life.

 

 

My Grandpa is a fighter!

My Grandpa is a fighter!

A life threatening situation struck my grandfather when he was visiting the United States.  On their annual holiday, my 74 year old grandfather was brought into the hospital.  The doctors found out his main artery in his heart was 98% blocked!  A heart bypass surgery was needed to save his life.  Without the option to fly back to Canada the surgery had to be done in Nevada.  Like Teagan, he too had top notch surgeons and the latest technology that saved his life.  Only in his case the medical bill came to over $260,000!  He was fortunate to have insurance coverage, but think of the people in our world who do not and would have to face an expense such as this.  It would be devastating!  Yet another reason that shows how truly amazing our Canadian health care system is!

These are just a few of my personal experiences where healthcare has made Canada an amazing place to call my home.

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Free the Children logo“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” -Oscar Wilde.  I feel strongly about giving back to people who need our help and I know change begins from small acts of kindness.  For these reasons I have tried my hardest to fundraise for Free The Children.  This is such an important charity for two reasons; it started with one small act of kindness and it now spans across the globe. Hopefully this blog post inspires you to make your own change in the world, one small act at a time.

With the pageant competition, I had 6 weeks to raise funds for Free The Children.  I devised a plan, one which would provide the biggest “bang for my buck”!  I opted to host a silent auction; one at my Supernova Baton Year End Recital and one at a golf tournament/BBQ at our home.  

I began my fundraising  journey by asking Spruce Grove businesses for silent auction items.  I created a silent auction request letter and approached local businesses to see if they would offer items or gift certificates.  The support from my community was overwhelming!  I’d like to thank the following businesses for each of their small acts of kindness:

  • Chatters
  • Second Cup
  • Canadian Brew House
  • The Beer Hunter
  • Gold Medal Costumes
  • Jack’s
  • Spruce Grove Flowers and Gifts
  • Perks Coffee House
  • State & Maine
  • Cheesecake Cafe
  • M&M Meat Shops
  • McDonalds
  • Safeway

IMG_1092June 4th was the Supernova Baton recital and I was honoured to be the MC for the event.  I spoke about the pageant, Free The Children fundraising, as well as my platform; raising awareness for Hereditary Hemochromatosis.   Our silent auction table was set up at the event and my Supernova family members were eager to contribute! Each of their small acts of kindness added up in a hurry!  

Graciously accepting the donations from Drayden Insurance!

Graciously accepting the donations from Drayden Insurance!

A very random act of kindness came from the people at Drayden Insurance.   Every year Drayden Insurance hosts a staff golf tournament where they donate the money raised to a charity.  This year I was fortunate that they chose both my platform and Free The Children as their chosen charities.  

The Draydon ladies love the pageant stance! :)

The Draydon ladies love the pageant stance! 🙂

I attended and helped at their event which was a great way to talk about Free The Children as well as my platform, the awareness of Hereditary Hemochromatosis.  I had a lot of fun with the organizers and the people who attended.  They are such a great group of people!

Look at how cool the invites were!  I am very punny :)

Look at how cool the invites were! I am very punny 🙂

After the Drayden golf tournament, we planned our own golf tournament/BBQ.

After all of the golfing and fundraising finished, the kids played outside until it was time to leave.

After all of the golfing and fundraising finished, the kids played outside until it was time to leave.

Friends and family came out for a fun evening of food, golf and silent auction donations.  We had to work around the rain, but it ended up being a great evening!  Thank you for everyone’s generous donations.  

Many of our family and friends live far away so in order to reach them I chose to set up a donation page for Free The Children.  I advertised this by sending the link out on Facebook and encouraged people to log in and donate.  Many people were quick to donate, and turned this little technology fundraiser into yet another success!  One by one, each small act of kindness has not gone un-noticed!  Thank you to everyone who donated online!  If you feel moved to perform your own small act of kindness, you are welcome to donate to Free The Children on the following website:

https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=2963656&langPref=en-CA

It will remain active until July 16.  It truly warms my heart to see so many selfless, small acts of kindness!            

Thank you for listening to my blog, stay tuned for more!

Written by: Alexandra
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“Animals are such agreeable friends-they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” -George Eliot.  No wonder so many people own such wonderful pets!  I was able to witness the loving bond between man and pet at the annual Pet Parade hosted by Millgrove school.

Before the parade, Millgrove school principal Mrs.Gail Ferguson took a photo with me.

Being the Grand Marshall, I led the group of pets and owners around the school.  The children that owned pets happily showed off their furry friends to their classmates.  Not only was it a fun way to get the pets out for a bit of fresh air but also to allow the children to pet other animals and connect with other kids.

I LOVE great danes!  Look at the size of it!

I LOVE great danes! Look at the size of it!

 

 

 

From tiny hamsters to Great Danes, the pets and the children paraded around the field to celebrate their last day of school.  After a long hot walk with the pets the children could take the rest of the morning to play games and eat yummy carnival food.  I spent the rest of the morning helping at the popcorn table while this was occurring.  I really enjoyed working at the popcorn booth with some of the teachers who taught me years ago.

"Spider-Man!  Spider-Man!  Does whatever a spider can!"

“Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Does whatever a spider can!”

 

One of the special visitors during the carnival was Spider-Man!  My friend and I were lucky enough to get a picture with him!

 

 

All in all, the children had a blast on their last day of school and I had an amazing time too!  As a pet owner myself, I can appreciate the importance of this day for the kids.

This is my dog, Abby

When I was little, my dog gave birth to two little puppies!  I loved them!

When I was little, my dog gave birth to two little puppies! I loved them!

 

Thank you for reading my blog about the Pet Parade, please continue checking in for new blogs to come.

 

 

Written by: Alexandra
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“Everybody Loves a Parade! “   That’s what my late grandma Audrey used to say.  She organized the Regina Beach Parade for many years.  Regina Beach is a small town just outside of Regina and where I spent many summers as a child.

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A rare picture of my grandma from when she was the parade coordinator at the Regina Beach Parade.

 

You may think that a small town parade is no big deal, but it sure can pack a punch!  My grandma even arranged for a military fly by from the Moose Jaw military base.   The community support and involvement is overwhelming!

If you look closely you will see me squished in the middle of the cart.  I was about four years old.

If you look closely you will see me squished in the middle of the cart. I was about four years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year I was in the Stony Plain Farmer’s Day parade.  Just like Regina Beach, Stony Plain is a small community, but the parade was a huge success.   There were over 100 floats and the parade route took almost 2 hours to complete!

The theme of the Farmer’s Day Parade was “Friends without Borders” so I invited Brandee, Miss Teenage South Central Alberta to be part of the parade with me.  We had so much fun together…

Great picture of Brandee and myself in this awesome mustang from Zender Ford at the Farmers Day Parade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing about a small town parade is that it can involve the entire community, or even your entire family!  My whole family was involved this year.  My dad and brother were in the Parkland Water Polo Club float and my sister was in the Supernova Baton Club float.  I would have loved to perform as I am part of the Supernova Baton Club as well, however after 2 hours of constant twirling under the beating sun, I was glad that I was riding in a car instead!

"Miss Teenage Spruce grove loves water polo" is the comment that my dad had made after taking this picture!

“Miss Teenage Spruce grove loves water polo” is the comment that my dad had made after taking this picture!

Even though I wasn't able to be in the parade with my team, I had some nice quality downtime with them before it.

Even though I wasn’t able to be in the parade with my team, I had some nice quality downtime with them before it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are like my grandma and share a love for parades, please leave me a message.

Check back soon as I will be blogging about a very special parade that I was part of a few days ago.

Written by: Alexandra
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I would like to start with a big hello!  This is my first time blogging and I can honestly say that I’m a little nervous.  This title was amazing for me because it has given me such a confidence boost!  It’s unbelievable how I am 15 years old and already have experienced something incredible!  I have recently discovered an interest in photography, so this first blog will be a snapshot into my life.

Baton twirling is a unique and fun sport that I love being a part of!  I have competed in baton twirling for four years now and I absolutely love it!  I perform in a small group, a large group as well as several individual events!  Baton twirling has made the past four years of my life fun and memorable!

Drama became a passion of mine in middle school.  I joined the musical theatre class in my Grade 8 school year and was immediately impressed by how much I enjoyed performing!  In grade 9 I auditioned for the school’s musical ‘Peter Pan’ and landed the part of Wendy Darling!  The first semester of grade 10 I performed in Alice in Wonderland as an ensemble character, what a blast!  I hope to continue performing in the drama productions outside of school!

I know it might sound strange, but I like school, always have.  During my Grade 9 school year, I was chosen to participate in the Pascal Exam for math.  What an honor to be selected as one of the top mathematic students.  I enjoy all subjects but one that I am most interested in is science.

I have loved animals for my whole life!  My mom has told me that I used to get so excited when dogs would approach that I would begin to vibrate!  Our family pet is a dog named Abby.  We adopted her when her owner could no longer keep her.  I also have a corn snake that I take care of on my own.  Handling animals has always been one of my strengths and I now have a job working in a clinic with them all day!  Currents Veterinary clinic is a welcoming, friendly clinic that is always keeping me busy!  The people who work there are incredible and the animals that come in every day are even better!  I have become very interested in the animal sciences and my job helps me gain both experience and information about the field.

I am looking forward to the many events that having the title of Miss Teenage Spruce Grove will allow me to be part of.  I am partnering with the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society (CHS) at several events this year.  You can check out their website at www.toomuchiron.ca.   CHS has partnered with Canadian Blood Services (CBS) at their mobile blood drives.  I will be attending the one in Spruce Grove and I am so excited to be able to help!  The Stony Plain farmer’s day parade is a big event which I am excited to be a part of.   I plan to volunteer at the Canada Day celebrations that take place right in Spruce Grove!  I cannot wait to escape to our lake lot where we spend time with some of our very best friends.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my very first blog!  This is the first of many ‘snapshots’ of my life in the next few months.  If you like what I have to say or just want to support me on my way to the national competition please see my Facebook, twitter, and Instagram accounts printed below.  Thank you!

Facebook:  Alexandra, Miss Teenage Spruce Grove 2015

Twitter: @missteenageSG15

Instagram:  @missteenagesprucegrove15

 

 

 

Written by: Alexandra
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