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Pageant Inspiration

Charnelle “Mikee” Ombao is your typical 7-year-old girl in that she loves to sing, dance, perform and play. At the same time, she has to be more aware of her diet than other kids her age because she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. But this little MetroWest resident doesn’t let those bumps in the road deter her from doing the things she loves. During Thanksgiving week, she traveled to Anaheim, California to represent Orlando on the stage of the 2015 National All-American Miss Princess competition.

Her mom, Charlote Ombao, remembers getting a letter to an open call for the 2015 National American Miss Florida Princess, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in July. When she asked Mikee if she wanted to participate, she said, “Mommy, I want to try.”

And try she did. In her first-ever pageant, Mikee won first runner-up overall out of 100 contestants in her age group and the opportunity to represent her hometown in a national competition. She also won nine trophies for categories including best talent, most ticket sales, art contest first runner-up and casual wear first runner-up. For her positive attitude, she earned a spirit award.

Her parents couldn’t be any prouder of her accomplishments. “I want her to think – even though she has Type 1 or celiac – whatever she wants to do to keep herself at her best, we will support her 100 percent,” Charlote says. “And she did it.”

Giving back to the community is a big part of pageant participation. So when it was time for Mikee to celebrate her birthday in September, she insisted on having a toy drive instead of a birthday party. With the help of her first grade class at Holy Family Catholic School, she was able to gather about 100 items – two full boxes of toys, books, and arts and crafts supplies.

Mikee donated one box to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children because of the positive experiences she had there when she was admitted during her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. The staff gave her toys and activities that she could do to take her mind off of the reason she was there. She wanted to give the other box to Give Kids the World so she could have a hand in helping kids who were fighting life-threatening illnesses.

“I like giving things to other kids,” Mikee says. “It feels really nice, and you know they feel really nice when you give things to them too.”

For Mikee, her passion for performing is a catalyst to help other kids who are just like her. She is able to share the same message her mom shared with her as she struggled with her own health issues. “They can do anything they want to do in life,” she says. “They can make their dreams come true just like I did.”

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Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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