Saturday, Chelsea Aiello of Tiffin is to compete in the Miss Ohio Pageant at the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield.
The 2013 Miss North Coast is a graduate of Lourdes University and works as an emergency room nurse at Mercy Tiffin Hospital. She has chosen organ donation as her platform.
Four years ago, Aiello became a live liver donor to prolong the life of her dad. She has been working with the local Donate Life chapter, Life Connections of Northwest Ohio, to share her story. More than 115,000 people are awaiting transplants in the United States, but statistics show 52 percent of Ohioans are registered donors.
Aiello said she would like to change that.
"I recently began partnering with local driver education classes, where I help students understand what it means to be a registered organ donor. This is very important because when a person gets their first driver's license, it is the first time they can choose to register as an organ donor," Aiello said.
Potential donors may have misconceptions about organ donation, so she is dedicated to educating citizens accurately. Aiello is targeting her message at pre-licensed teens, health care providers and senior citizens "because these populations have the most power to impact change in organ donation."
Teen aims for junior title
Shayla Thomas of Tiffin is competing this week for the title of Miss Ohio's Outstanding Teen 2013. Having been named Miss Fallen Timbers' Outstanding Teen, Shayla is to perform a dance routine for her talent.
Taking a stand against childhood cancer is her platform, to honor the memory of her late sister, Christi Thomas.
The competition is to take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield.
In addition, she also is a local ambassador for Children's Miracle Network, the national platform of the Miss America Organization. In that role, she raises funds for CMN hospitals and visits young patients at those facilities.
Having a state title and possibly a national title would enable Aiello to take her platform to a wide audience and increase organ, eye and tissue donation.
To learn more about the contestant, visit www.chelseaaiello.com.