Sue Cameron never thought she’d see her daughter, 20-year-old Alyssa Patrias, compete in a Miss Michigan preliminary pageant.
Patrias was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect that required open-heart surgery at just 10 weeks old.
So when the Miss America pageant—associated with Miss Michigan — gave the thumbs up for her to compete in the Miss Downriver pageant on Aug. 26, Cameron, 64, was stunned and moved to tears. Her daughter would accomplish something that had never been done before.
And when Patrias competed in the pageant last month, she became the first woman in the state of Michigan with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss Michigan preliminary pageant. She didn’t win the crown, but her pageant sisters voted her to win Miss Congeniality.
“I didn’t know that Alyssa wanted to do what her peers did—to be in a real pageant,” said the young woman’s mother at their home in Taylor.
Here, Patrias, who had previously only …
READ MORE ON FREEP.COM