This Saturday, Aug. 12, Keyser High School auditorium will be hosting the Battle of Hope: Pageants for Change, under the leadership of co-founders/directors Mariah Sarver and Chelsea Sarver.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
This Saturday, Aug. 12, Keyser High School auditorium will be hosting the Battle of Hope: Pageants for Change, under the leadership of co-founders/directors Mariah Sarver and Chelsea Sarver.
This pageant is being held to raise funds to assist with the growing pile of medical bills that the Cozatt family is having to manage.
The Cozatt family has experienced such tragedy over the last month. Tonya was an employee at U.S. Cellular and passed away on June 6 from aggressive liver cancer. John, who runs the family business, had a massive stroke and was in ICU fighting hard for his life and has now moved from PCU to Rehab. He has been making great progress, which has been a blessing for his daughter Keana (age 18), who lost her sister two weeks prior to the passing of her mom.
"This family has had such devastation, and medical bills are piling up. Besides prayer, the family needs help with their medical bills," says Mariah. "All funds raised will be donated directly to the family to help them with this troubling time. Thanks to the community for their outpouring of support and heart warming prayers."
"This past weekend, there was a spaghetti dinner benefit for the family, and the community responded," adds Chelsea. "Such gifts of love from so many, many people."
I was there. I saw scores of volunteers, and many silent auction items, t-shirt orders, Dum Dum suckers (I couldn't resist choosing my favorite kinds), a 50/50 and just a beautiful sense of the giving spirit. These kind of events tug at my heart...as if calling me to bake something, buy something, do something.
At the Battle of Hope on Saturday, contestants compete for queens and first and second runners up in their division. There is also a category for Most Photogenic. Awards and prizes include sashes, tiaras, green medals to signify liver cancer awareness and pageant t-shirts, depending on which age category and division. And, the queens from junior miss up receive a paid entry into the Maryland or Delaware
state pageant!
I can remember every single year looking forward to the Miss America pageant on TV. I loved to see each young lady from every state introduce herself, and I would pick my favorites from those introductions. Then, throughout the evening, I would narrow the field based on swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview. For me, that was a fun evening...seeing if my choices were close to the judges' selections. Of course, I always rooted for Miss Maryland, Miss West Virginia and Miss Pennsylvania!
So, right here in the friendliest City of Keyser, West Virginia, we can attend a local pageant. One that showcases beautiful people, inside and out, and at the same time - help our neighbors - the John Cozatt family...help a family that has had to face recent death and catastrophic illness. A chance for us to reach out and show we care for our neighbors, and empathize with their trials and tribulations. A chance to do something that supports these contestants as they shine on stage, as well as do something that matters...something that makes a difference. Something significant.
In our day-to-day lives, we get caught up in the hustle of life - our work, our sports, our church, our children, our meetings, our golf games, our television shows, our extra-curricular activities. We get so busy, from morning to night, and then crash at day's end...feeling drained and exhausted - and knowing tomorrow, we do it all over again.
How about this suggestion for this Saturday - bring your $10 donation to the high school, pay your admission for the pageant, and come on in, take a seat and sit back and enjoy these babies, toddlers, teens, young ladies and women. Watch them sparkle. Marvel at their choices of outfits and gowns, and see their beauty from within. Applaud their courage and the efforts it takes to present themselves on stage. The admission price is less if you opt to attend just one of the pageants.
Here's how it works: In the morning on Saturday, the pageant begins at 10 a.m. You have a choice: Come to just the morning pageant with the babies through age 12; come to the evening pageant at 6 p.m. for contestants ages 13 and up. Or, do like me - buy a $10 wristband and come to both pageants to cheer on all of the contestants! Another plus for the evening pageant is the audience favorite opening number - showcasing the contestants on the stage.
Oh, I cannot wait to see each and every beauty there!
There will be a 50/50 raffle, light refreshments for sale at the concessions area, and a silent auction featuring wonderfully-created gift baskets...all donated by generous community friends who are proud to be part of this event.
Battle of Hope's favorite Bible verse: "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24
For more information about Saturday's pageant or upcoming bi-annual pageants, contact Chelsea Sarver or Mariah Sarver, directors and founders, at battleofhopepageants@gmail.com.


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