Negative opinions can really discourage people from pursuing their interests and dreams, this is especially true for children and young teens who are finding their way in the world.
But then there’s the stubborn kind, those who make fuel out of demoralizing comments to pursue their dreams even harder. This is the case for Alison Appleby, a Sherman teenager who decided to prove everyone wrong by winning the Miss Dallas Teen pageant.
In an interview with KTEN, Appleby said that a stranger tried to discourage her from participating in the competition. “A bystander who was just standing there overhearing our conversation said, 'You can't do that because you have a disability and pageant girls don't have disabilities,'" she recalls.
That must have sounded like a challenge for Appleby because last weekend she took home not one, but two crowns, one for herself and the other for Brady, her faithful service dog who stood beside her all the way through the pageant.
Appleby, now 17, was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 15. Brady, who is still in training, assists her by alerting her of oncoming seizures, and once his training is complete he’ll be able to fetch medications for her.
Far from disguising her disability, Appley openly talks about it. She said judges told her it was her interview that got her to the top. “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,” she told KTEN.
Next up for Miss Dallas Teen and Mr. Miss Dallas Teen Dog is a trip to Houston in May to compete for the Miss Texas Teen title.
In the meantime, Appleby will attend charity events and functions, something she is familiar with as she’s held the title of Grand Champion for five consecutive years in fundraising for the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.”
In case you missed it, here's Local Profile's report on the first Asian American Miss Texas.