Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Why Hospice? By Morgan Bredde

With all the components for Mrs. Minnesota, selecting my platform was the easiest. Entitled ‘No Matter the Minutes: Hospice Care for Children’—I am committing this year and however long it takes to provide every family with a safe-haven for their children when they’re at the end of their lives. This is an incredibly sad topic, but we cannot continue to let our fear of speaking about it inhibit the lives directly impacted by this.


Why Hospice Care?


Maryah Therese Emerson-Tift was a once-in-a-lifetime friend. Nicknamed "The Champ", she valiantly and gracefully fought Ewing's Sarcoma until she was 16 years, 8 days and 35 minutes old. She was a beautiful, talented dancer, beloved sister, cherished daughter and unforgettable friend. 
I thank God for every minute I was able to spend with her-- I am forever changed and motivated by her memory. It is because of her that I take on the mission to ensure that every moment of life is celebrated for a child with a shortened life expectancy.
Maryah passed away in a hospice home for adults, while surrounded in a peaceful environment, both the facility and staff were not equipped to handle the special considerations and needs of child-based end-of-life care.



In Minnesota alone, there are 9,000 families dealing with this heartbreaking reality. "Where can we spend time as a family while my child is dying?". Currently, for families not living in California or Arizona, there are only three options:
A) Hospital: children most often times do not have the freedom or the ability to leave campus to venture outside, nor is there enough room for families to stay together. (See "Designed to Complete. Not Compete. chart below)
B) Home: parents and siblings alike remain in a home where the memories of the child are often overshadowed with memories of their passing. Parents also must play the role of "caregiver" in addition to "parent"
CHospice Home: while this facility is geared toward assisting with and providing end-of-life care, these homes are not equipped to handle the emotional needs of a child. These homes are centered around providing a peaceful environment to whomever is staying within their walls. Like the hospitals, hospice homes do not have the space for the family to spend unlimited time together.

What if There Was Another Option?

In the United States, there are only TWO residential hospices for children: 
George Mark Children's House in California, and Ryan House in Arizona, with six other homes in the development stages across the country, including my partners Crescent Cove and Ladybug House. Families are able to access pediatric palliative care (care of patients who are not responding to curative treatment. This enhances quality of life for children with life-limiting conditions), respite care all the while in a child-friendly environment. These homes have space for families to stay and enjoy time together through fun activities and peaceful spaces. There is a focus on allowing parents to "just be parents" and most of all, children can simply be children. With over 20 million children in immediate need of palliative care, each one of those children should be able to spend their life living-- no matter how short their life expectancy is.

That is where we come in. Through 'No Matter the Minutes', it is my mission while partnered with my international pediatric hospice coalition, to increase awareness, support, and secure funding to sustain and establish these homes. While the tragedy of losing a child too soon is unbearable, we will be able to uplift more families through their grieving process, all the while helping to ease the financial burden.

Please help me on my journey to uplift countless families across the world cherish sacred time with their children by providing pediatric palliative care, respite and hospice. Together, we can change the world.


Promising the moon,

Morgan Bredde

Mrs. Minnesota International 2016


Click here to read my guest blog with Crescent Cove!






Sunday, May 15, 2016

" Meet Miss Minnesota 2016"



I am so proud and honored to have been crowned Miss Minnesota International for 2016. My journey to Miss Minnesota was very unique and I feel so blessed that I get to share with all of you how I got to where I am today.


            I want to start off by sharing my home life with all of you! My father was a corporate executive for much of my 4 older siblings lives which, in turn, caused our family to move frequently while I was very young. Our family has lived in Seattle, Baltimore, Green Bay, and Chicago. just to name a few locations. I myself was actually born in Louisville, Kentucky in the year 1997. When my parents decided to custom build a house of their dreams they finally said “This is it! We are staying here for a while!” It has been almost 10 years since that day and I am thankful that I get to call Minnesota my home. Why do I love Minnesota so much you may ask? I love how in the morning you can be finishing up a Glam Doll Donut while drinking a SpyGirl from Spyhouse coffee and just a short while later be hiking the trails of Minnehaha Park. The diversity of our state is what makes it such a wonderful place to grow up.


            My hometown of Hastings is just about 30 minutes away from Saint Paul, our states capital. This is the place where I really found out who I am and the what kind of persons I want to be. Throughout high school I did a variety of activities; Volleyball, Younglife, show choir, theater, Student Council, Class Officers, Link Crew, Youth Ambassadors and Peer Tutoring were among my favorites. Links below are to see me in action participating in some of these extracurricular activities.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn0_TZ1oTYo ( Go to 10:50, Look for the tall sassy girl in the middle)



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJOhmtXP_pA ( Go to 44:50, Look for Sharpay)


            Many people would ask me why I did so much at such a young age and truthfully it was because I loved everything. I loved being a performer just as much as I loved being a middle blocker. I think that being so involved really has made me such a well-rounded person today. When pageants came into the picture I was more than excited to give it my all.


The Miss Minnesota Pageant was the first pageant I had ever competed in and I am beyond blessed to have taken home the crown. It was not luck that got me to where I am today, it was hard-work, focus, and determination. I am very excited to represent Minnesota proudly at the Miss International Pageant in July and I know that my past experiences will help me to be the perfect candidate to take home the International title.


 Your Miss Minnesota International 2016
Sabrina Astar


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

" About Me" Miss Pre-Teen Minnesota 2016

Photo by Paula Preston

Hi everyone! I’m Ava Ernst and very excited to be your new Miss Pre-Teen Minnesota International 2016! I love animals, downhill skiing, being a member of the North Suburban Makos swim team, and all things Star Wars! I am an only child and live with my mom, dad, and pets in the northern suburbs of St. Paul.  Speaking of my mom, she was Mrs. Minnesota International 2003! In fact, she crowned her successor when she was pregnant with me!

My platform is “Don’t Shop… ADOPT!” and I am dedicated to helping rescue animals find homes. In my family, we have rescued many pets, such as our now 15-year-old black lab Bear who we got from the Animal Humane Society at the age of 13 after his owner died. We also rescued our 3-legged cat named Tippy who sadly passed away last spring. My mom helped my grandparents find a rescue English bulldog named Sweetie who is just a sweetheart. She was a breeder dog from a horrible puppy mill but now she is pampered and loved every day instead of being locked up in a cramped, tiny cage. As you can probably tell, this is a cause I feel very strongly about!   

Photo by Crowning Images
I am a huge Star Wars fan and have loved the movies for as long as I can remember.  My mom still had her Star Wars toys from when she was a little girl but she gave them to me which was pretty cool. My family and I waited three hours in line just to get good seats on opening day of “Star Wars - The Force Awakens!” I love the lead character Rey because she proves that average girls can be heroes no matter what background they come from. 


Competitive swimming is a big part of my life. I am a member of the Makos swim team. The team is so organized and the drills make me feel more confident when I compete in swim meets.  As much as I love swimming, downhill skiing is my very favorite sport in the world. For the past three years, I have skied with the Otto Hollaus Ski Club each Sunday. We go to various local ski hills and have terrific instructors. This past January, my family and I took a ski trip to Whistler, British Columbia which was where the 2010 Winter Olympics took place.  Last year, we skied in Crested Butte, CO which was a great trip.  I hope we go somewhere fun next winter! 


I am also on basketball and volleyball teams in the summer, and play golf and tennis in the summer and also go to horse camp.  I used to play soccer but am hoping to take riding lessons instead. 

 Music is my passion. I have played guitar since the age of 7 and I love to sit around the campfire at our cabin and play along with my mom and grandpa! My guitar instructor Todd is so fun and I have even played (and sang!) in front of my whole school for a talent show. I recently started taking voice lessons with recording artist Keri Noble and I am learning so much from her. 

Photo by Crowning Images

My family is so kind to me and I am so lucky to have such loving parents. My mom always volunteers to take time out of her day to help out at any track meets of mine or bring me to my swim practices. And my dad smokes such delicious meat (he loves to watch cooking shows) and loves to take me fishing!  My parents helped and supported me all the way in this pageant and I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for their support. I love my family and the neighborhood I live in. My grandparents live just one mile from us and my aunt and uncle live three miles from us—we have a big family dinner every Tuesday night and I love having my family so close. 


I am so excited for this year!  Next week I will be making my second appearance at the Psycho Suzis’ Puppy Pageant which will be a blast. Thank you so much for reading and make sure to read my next blog coming soon!  Have an awesome day!


Ava Ernst

Miss Pre-Teen Minnesota International 2016





Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Meet Miss Teen Minnesota 2016"

My name is Kelly Brown and I am an 18 year old from Inver Grove Heights, MN! I have recently been crowned as Miss Teen MN International and am so excited to continue my endeavor this year! I grew up in a  family as the youngest of 4 siblings. I have two kind-hearted brothers as well as one fun and bubbly older sister! I genuinely enjoy being the youngest because the youngest is always the favorite, of course! 
On my free time I volunteer my hours to my high school’s varsity lacrosse team as a student athletic trainer. I really enjoy doing this as it keeps me very busy after school and on game days and is also a great learning experience! I also partake in my school’s homecoming and prom committees by helping take photos and create decorations. It's truly a blast! It's a great way to help out the school and give back to them.
The most important things in my life are my friends and family. You can catch me out and about with my friends at sporting events or at the mall on the weekends! On weekdays, I appreciate relaxing with my family and watching movies! My favorite movie of all time is “The Outsiders”, but I definitely enjoyed the book a bit more!
This year I will be graduating from Simley High School. I have committed to the University of Minnesota to further my education! I am so grateful for this because it has always been my dream school! I cannot wait for this following year!

Miss Teen Minnesota 2016
Kelly Brown

Monday, May 9, 2016

"Meet Mrs. Minnesota 2016"

(picture by Donna Bergh)

It is absolutely a dream that I am sitting here and introducing myself as the 2016 Mrs. Minnesota International! Knowing that this year will fly by, I wanted to take a few moments to tell you a bit about me and my family.


I was born a California girl through and through, but my mother moved us from sunny southern California to freezing Minnesota…in January…with no knowledge of what winter coats were and why they were needed. Boy did we learn! Over the course of my childhood and on through my adult life, I fell into a deep love with Minnesota and cannot express my excitement on once again representing it for an entire year.


I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia (M-I-Z!) for theatre and fashion merchandising. I loved my time there as I was heavily involved on campus with everything from Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity to providing safe rides through a free-ride program dedicated to improving campus security. I found that my heart was outside of Missouri, so I applied and was 1 of 20 applicants selected to intern with Walt Disney World’s “Merchentainment” program out of 65,000+ applicants. While hundreds of thousands of families travel to a Disney park every year for its magic—I can honestly say that for me, my dreams came true much like they would in a fairytale.


I met my husband Kim Erik while shopping for my favorite thing—groceries! As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a tad clumsy and anything that could go wrong, will. Naturally, I rammed into him with my shopping cart and was so worried I had injured him that I gave him my phone number (like you would with a car accident…). He called me and asked me to dinner instead and the rest is history!

(Photo by Brittany Link Photography)

We now are the parents of two perfect little boys: Beau (1) and Blayre (pronounced ‘Blair’, 3 months). They are exactly 369 days apart and we wouldn’t have our “Irish Twins” any other way! They are truly little miracle babies as I have suffered from Endometriosis since age 15. We can be found singing any and all songs from “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and speaking baby-talk fluently.

(Beau (L) Blayre (R))

Having competed in pageants for 12 years now, I am excited and ready to represent the greatest (sorry, California!) state in the nation at Mrs. International in just a little over 10 weeks! I hope you’ll join me throughout my reign and continue to support women of all ages and walks of life who are making a difference through pageantry.


With love,

Morgan Bredde

Mrs. Minnesota International 2016