BY: DANIEL PETERSON
On this, the power of women can’t be overlooked.
Kierra Brown, 25,–the beauty queen, entrepreneur and children’s book author is delivering joy to sick kids. Kierra is leading a group of the University of Florida’s students who dress up like Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, and Ariel, through a free program Kierra begun last November called ‘Project Princess.’
For Kierra, it all began with her portraying herself as Princess Tiana, who was the star of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, in late 2012. Since then she has visited over 2,000 hospitalized kids on her monthly visits. Kierra says.
“There were a lot of similarities in Princess Tiana’s story that was related to my life. It’s about Princess Tiana’s dream of owning her own restaurant yet she grows up in a poor environment.”
She adds. “I was raised in a single parent home — my dad died when I was 3-years-old, and in a not-so-nice community. I saw my mom work so hard and struggle to ensure my siblings, and I could’ve a better life. What I learned from the story was that if you work so hard enough, you can meet your dreams.”
Kierra saw the joy her visits as a princess, could bring to sick kids. When she was 19, she visited them at the Gainesville community’s hospitals. On her first visit, Kierra met a little girl who although, was struggling with leukemia, her heart was very inspiring.
“She’d lost all of her hair. She had been confined to one hospital room for about nine months, but she was smiling and laughing,” Kierra remembers. “She told me how she loved me. And seeing her so happy and bringing that joy to her life by dressing like a princess. It was like ‘Wow!’”
Intending to serve her community more, Kierra founded a University-based community service club, called Project Princess UF. Over 100 women turned up in last October to audition for the 16 princess’s spots.
Cole Dooley said it was a great day when Phoebe, 4.5– his daughter, was visited at his home by Cinderella, (curtsey of Project Princess Club’s President–Kailyn Allen.)
Phoebe, who has passed through 30 radiation treatments and who is now in a clinical trial, suffers from a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma–a rare tumor of the brain stem which predominantly attacks preschool age children. Currently, Phoebe’s tumor is stabilized.
Cole says his daughter, “is a typical girl who loves pink and who absolutely loves animals,” he adds. “Though Phoebe isn’t typically highly into princesses, she thought it was the nicest thing that Cinderella visited our house.”
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