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HATLEY, Miss. (WCBI) — Pageant queens and kings all had their eyes on the crowns Saturday afternoon. Participants of all ages took part in the Miss Steel Magnolia Pageant. But this pageant goes toward a much bigger cause.

It wasn’t all about pretty crowns and “Most Beautiful” titles.

The Hatley community has rallied together to support 15-year-old Serra Pearson, who is fighting a rare disease called Autoimmune Autonomic Ganglionopathy. In this type of case, the body will detect some type of cancer and in it’s attempt to fight off the cancer, it creates to many antibodies. Then an attack on the autonomic nervous system occurs.

Her journey began in February and quickly escalated, since the disease is so rare and there is no known cure, she has decided to return home from a long hospital stay  and enjoy life with her family and friends.

“As Serra says, you know God put us all here for a reason and she knows that the reason for a lot of us volunteers is because of her and she has touched us all,” said Carol Knight, who is a volunteer and family friend of the Pearson’s.

Volunteers want to continue to support the family by raising money to help with the high costs of hospital bills and hosting the benefit pageant is just one way they can help.

“There are many, many hospital bills, several bills that they are going to have to pay for, ” said Knight.

Throughout her battle, Serra has continued to cling tightly to her faith.

“And the strength that this family has and the faith that Serra has, I think that’s what keeps all of us going, ” said Knight.

Right now Serra and her family are enjoying time on a family vacation, but she did send a special message for all those in attendance at the pageant.

If you would like to donate to the Pearson family, contact Carol Knight at 662-256-8700 or by email at carolcknight03@gmail.com.

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