These pageants are more than just a popularity contest. They raise money for Children’s Miracle Network–money that stays here in Lane County.
Over the next few days, KEZI 9 News is going to show what it takes to put these fundraisers together and how they impact the students involved, beginning with Mr. Billy.
The contestants’ tour through Sacred Heart at Medical Center at RiverBend starts just like the preparations for the pageant do.
The mood is light. Everyone’s having fun. A few people crack jokes.
“Usually our group is happy-go-lucky. We’re always having fun, hanging out and doing whatever we can,” said Mr. Billy contestant Max Jones.
Just as they got briefed about what the huge fundraiser entails a few months ago, these students are getting an inside look at what the Children’s Miracle Network does and how they play a role.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been fun. It’s going good,” said Mr. Billy contestant Andrew Way.
As the tour progresses, just as pageant preparations did, it all starts to sink in. These Pleasant Hill High School students start to understand every dollar they raise comes back into these rooms and hallways, helping local kids get the medical treatment they need close to home.
“It’s pretty cool, helping us know what we’re working for,” Way said.
The tour builds up to a walk-through the neonatal intensive care unit. This is when everything changes for the students.
“I just can’t believe a baby could be that small. I never thought I’d see a human being that small,” Way said.
“It was crazy seeing what CMN works hard to do, seeing everything we’re raising money for. I never thought it could be this important; I just thought we were raising money to help. But it’s crazy to see what you’re actually doing,” Jones said.
“It really does (put everything into perspective). It makes me really proud of what we’re doing: raising money for the NICU,” Way said.
The money Mr. Billy and all the other Kids Helping Kids pageants raise really does change lives. In some cases. it even saves them.
“It just got really serious right there because this is what we’re working for. This is the whole point of Mr. Billy,” Way said.
The Mr. Billy pageant will be held on April 27 at Pleasant Hill High School, but another fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network is just a few days away. KEZI 9 News is taking over the airwaves of KOOL 99.1 FM this Thursday and Friday for the Kool Cares for Kids Radiothon. Be sure to listen and donate between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.