CHERAW - Debbie O'Keef of Patrick, S.C. is a young lady with big dreams and compassion for others.
On Mar. 14, 2008, she earned her crown as Miss Patrick Teen 2008 and is the first teen to ever make it to the Miss South Carolina Teen Program from Patrick, S.C. At the exciting age of 16 years old, she is a sophomore at Cheraw High School and is very active in her youth group at her home church, Welsh Neck Baptist Church in Society Hill.
O'Keef's platform for the Miss South Carolina Pageant is SIDS. "I have been trying to raise money for more SIDS research to help prevent more babies from dying from unexplained reasons. It has touched my family and that is why I chose SIDS as my platform," said O'Keef.
O'Keef also stated that SIDS cannot be prevented due to recent studies.
"Some recent studies have begun to isolate several risk factors, said O'Keef. Since I have done much research, I have learned about some potential risk factors pertaining to SIDS. Things such as smoking, drinking, or drug use during pregnancy, poor pre-natal care, prematurity or low birth-weight, mothers younger than 20, smoke exposure following birth, overheating from excessive sleepwear and bedding of babies, and babies sleeping on their stomachs. Even though there appears to be no suffering, death occurs very rapidly, usually during sleep. It is a terrible and heartbreaking thing for a parent and family to go through," said O'Keef.
In the recent months, O'Keef has been trying to raise funds for sponsorship to the Miss South Carolina Pageant, which will take place during the week of Jun. 26 through Jul. 5 in Spartanburg, N.C.
"I was fortunate enough to make it to the Miss South Carolina Teen state level, and I will be representing my hometown of Patrick for 2008. I will be competing against other young ladies for the Miss South Carolina Teen title as well as Kayla McDaniel, Miss Society Hill Teen. Merideth Watford, Miss Society Hill, will also compete for the crown of Miss South Carolina," said O'Keef.
" There is a lot of hard work that goes into a pageant. These girls work hard to get there. They are all winners, but only one can wear the crown," said Ann Breckinridge, Miss Society Hill Local Executive Director for the Miss Society Hill Scholarship Pageant.
"Wearing the crown means so much and what it represents is even more meaningful to me. Every girl who is honored to wear the
" Crown" has a responsibility to her pageant friends, directors to her community. The four points on the crown that I am now so fortunate to wear as Miss Patrick Teen stand for "Support, Style, Success and Scholarship," said O'Keef.
I hope that the people of Patrick will be supportive of me as I promise to represent the state of South Carolina to the best of my ability if chosen as Miss South Carolina Teen," O'Keef stated.
O'Keef continued to say that it is not all about beauty, it is about education too," said O'Keef.
"All of the girls, including myself, must maintain good grades in school to stay in the pageant. It is about striving to be the best at whatever you do."
Breckinridge stated also that all pageants; no matter where they are, are really about empowering young women to seek a career and a drive to succeed in life. "All of the girls have so much talent and want to really succeed," said Breckinridge.
O'Keef is currently is working through a mentoring program with Miss Palmetto Princess and Palmetto Prince, where she serves as a mentor for Palmetto Princess and Palmetto Prince.
O'Keef will be a very busy in the upcoming weeks as she prepares for her dream.
Her schedules of upcoming events are as follows.
* Apr. 19, Chicken Strut-Bethune.
* Apr. 18-Chesterfield
* Apr. 25-26, Hartsville Relay for Life
* May 3, Society Hill Poker Run Event
* May 9-10, May forum-Spartanburg, N.C.
* May 17-Pinestraw Festival-Patrick
* May 31, Volunteer for phone bank for Children's Miracle Network-McLeod Hospital-Florence, S.C.
* Jun. 26-Jul. 5-Miss South Carolina Pageant-Spartanburg, N.C.
If you would like to sponsor Debbie O'Keef for the Miss South Carolina Pageant, please call 843-498-6963 or 843-623-8004.