Each contestant had his or her own reason for entering the 2 nd Annual Relay for Life Charity Pageant in Copperas Cove on Saturday. But, all entrants shared the same commonality. Their lives have all been touched one way or another by cancer.

The Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty hosted the benefit pageant for the second year and welcomed 39 contestants to the stage. Each showed his or her cancer fighting spirit by waving flags, performing rap songs, cheering and chanting and displaying colors representing every type of cancer. It was definitely not a traditional beauty pageant,

Contestants wore their outfits of choice and shared their personal testimonials on why they participate in Relay for Life and entered the pageant.

Emily Kimball, 12, was the youngest contestant in her age group that spanned 12 to 18 years. Wowing the audience with her public speaking skills and a spirited cheer complete with pom-poms and gymnastics, Kimball surpassed the older contestants and was chosen as the 2019 Relay Queen in her category of competition.

“Cancer fundraising is important because many of my friends and family have been affected by cancer,” the sixth grader said. “I would like to see a cure for cancer in my lifetime.”

Central Texas College student Kayla West captured the crown in the 19 and older age group and had a very personal reason for entering the pageant.

“My grandpa was diagnosed with prostate cancer three days ago. He has always been a father figure in my life. He carries a charm with him that I made for him and I always wear this necklace he gave me,” the 19 year old said as she clutched the pendant around her neck. “So, I entered for my grandpa.”

All contestants received purple ribbon medals while the newly crowned royalty received purple ribbon rhinestone crowns and purple title sashes.

Four year-old Veronica Kellar took home the title in the youngest age group of zero to 11 years old. Her aunt passed away from cervical cancer when Kellar was six weeks old. Melinda Kellar, Veronica’s mother, still mourns the loss of her sister.

“It is so important that we raise money for cancer so one day, they wil find a cure and no one will have to lose a loved one to cancer again,” Melinda Kellar said.

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