HOMETOWN - Birmingham, AL
BIRTH DATE - July 7, 1980
SCHOLASTIC AMBITION: Obtain a Medical Degree
CAREER AMBITION: Become a Pediatrician
If Deidre had a magic genie, she would wish for World Peace.
Platform Statement :
Platform Statement of Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs
Of all nature's gifts to the human race, what is sweeter than children? - Cicero
The title of Miss America has provided me with an unparalleled opportunity to be a national activist for children with cancer and their families – joining with CureSearch in promoting awareness and advocating increased research funding.
CureSearch is the partnership of Children’s Oncology Group – the world’s largest and most prestigious childhood cancer research organization – and its public awareness and business partner, the National Childhood Cancer Foundation. CureSearch supports a network of over 5,000 researchers and medical specialists performing cutting-edge collaborative research at more than 200 member institutions. This army of compassion works tirelessly at the bedside and in the laboratory, blazing a path to new advances.
I am proud to be a part of the CureSearch effort as the national spokesperson. Research is the fuel that drives the life-saving engine. Even as the rate of childhood cancer diagnoses has increased, the death rate has dropped significantly as research has uncovered more effective methods of diagnosis and treatment.
The success stories are impressive. Just 30 years ago, virtually every childhood malignancy ended in tragedy. Today, overall survival rates are in excess of 77 percent. But that still leaves a number of families facing childhood cancer with an unthinkable fate… the loss of a child.
With increased awareness, funding and academic attention, we can do better. CureSearch aims to increase the survival rate to 85 percent by the year 2008. I am devoting my year of service to increasing the odds even further for these families, working toward a world where powerful and effective weapons against the disease will give every child with cancer the chance to get well and grow up to live a normal life.
My expanded goals include helping communities establish funding mechanisms for cancer research, as I have done in my home state of Alabama.
My journey began when I visited Camp Smile-a-Mile in Alabama. Later I became a camp counselor and volunteered at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. Working with ill children was such a moving and rewarding experience, it inspired me to create “Making Miracles,” a volunteer program that put high school students into the cancer unit – and eventually to the Alabama license plate program.
I spearheaded a statewide initiative to establish a special automobile license plate program to generate dollars for cancer research. I coordinated a year-long campaign of awareness and publicity to meet the state’s requirement of 1,000 pre-sold plates. We doubled the minimum requirement and sold over 2,000, generating $84,000 even before the plate was officially sanctioned.
In this effort, I enlisted the experience of the medical community and the power of parents’ networks on the Internet, lobbied regulators and legislators and recruited corporate sponsors to underwrite media advertising – experience that can only bolster my national efforts.
In my opinion, losing one child to cancer is one too many. I am committed to doing everything in my power to make a real difference in the lives of children and their families – the reason I plan to pursue a career as a pediatrician when my education resumes.
Children truly are the world’s most precious gift. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with CureSearch to improve the odds for every child diagnosed with cancer.
Even if a cure is not discovered in our lifetime, today’s work is critical for the children of tomorrow. Together, we can build a foundation towards a cancer-free future. I can think of no nobler endeavor.
Deidre Downs Nude: