At the Miss Indiana USA competition this past October, contestants showed off their accomplishments, drive, and talents. Brittany Winchester wowed the judges by sharing her passion for affecting change and was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2017. Brittany was diagnosed with multiple basal cell carcinomas and devoted her pageant platform to skin cancer awareness, pledging her voice to a cause that has affected her personally. Although her career as an interior architect and her duties as Miss Indiana USA keep her busy, Brittany found time to share her story with The Skin Cancer Foundation and explain how she has been using her platform to make a difference.
“Skin cancer awareness and prevention is close to my heart because of my personal connection with the disease. When I was 25, doctors discovered three skin cancers on my body, likely a result of years of tanning bed use and sun exposure. Fortunately, my doctor was able to remove the cancer and I have a clean bill of health. Now I’m dedicated to sharing my story and educating others so that they don’t make the same mistakes I did. As Miss Indiana USA, I can use my crown as a megaphone to reach a larger audience and bring attention to this very important topic.
“I’ve discovered there are many ways I can actively advocate for skin cancer awareness and prevention. I tell my story during public appearances and share prevention information on my official and personal social media platforms. I have partnered with local spray tan businesses to promote the option of spray tans rather than using tanning beds. I will be participating in fundraising events during Skin Cancer Awareness Month this May. I’m also really excited to talk about skin cancer and share my story in my Road to The Crown video for the Miss USA competition. And of course, I’ll have the opportunity to reach a national audience during the televised Miss USA competition on May 14!
“To people who want to get more involved, my recommendation would be to reach out to either a local skin cancer awareness group or to a national organization like The Skin Cancer Foundation. You can help by hosting a fundraiser to raise money for awareness initiatives or skin cancer research. You can also organize an education event, and encourage people to protect themselves from the sun, stop using tanning beds and see a doctor for a skin check. I’ve found that when you can speak from personal experience, people are more willing to listen, accept, and change their ways.
“Going through this has helped me to see the silver lining in negative situations. I am thankful that I have this story to share with others.”