West Benton Fire Rescue had a great time at the Shining Star Pageant. Thank you for including us again this year. It’s always an inspiration to be around these beautiful young women.
PROSSER, Wash.- “I just feel happy and excited,” said Shining Star Participant Na’ava Radach.
It’s a feeling that Na’ava and many other girls shared today during this years Shining Star Pageant.
It’s an annual event that celebrates children with disabilities, and today they hit a record of 49 girls that participated.
“To me that shows that it’s meeting a need. That people like what we are doing,” said Directer of Shining Star Pageant Rene Martinez.
Martinez started the Shining Star Pageant when she noticed there weren’t a lot of pageant options for her daughter Sophie. She was diagnosed with Battens Disease back in 2011, a rare and deadly condition that caused her to lose her sight.
“Mainstream pageants really didn’t celebrate her. Perhaps there were stairs to the stage, or the on stage questions were a little to challenging. So we try to take all those barriers out,” said Martinez.
Martiniez didn’t realize how many other parents in the Yakima Valley this affected. The pageant has brought hundreds of families from all over the state. This is the third year that Maria Trujillo has entered her daughter into the Shining Star Pageant. Her family moved back to Sunnyside after living in Mattawa for 16 years.
“It’s a really small town, so there was nothing available,” said Trujillo.
She came back to provide more opportunities for her daughter Cassandra, who has a condition that causes her to have problems with speech and coordination.
“It’s a big blessing to see my daughter be involved, and for the other girls to have an opportunity to do this,” said Trujillo.
Martiniez says her daughters disease is getting worse, causing Sophie to now cheer for her friends on the sidelines. Martinez says Sophie still has the same spirit like she did when she was on stage.
“She loves it, she tells everybody ‘I started a pageant for girls with disabilities.’ We are just so thankful that our community welcomes us in with open arms,” said Martinez.