In 2002, Rachelle McCray’s mother was so sick that she passed out while at her high school graduation. Her mother, Mindy, had been ill for a while. She was later admitted to the hospital where she was diagnosed with stage four renal failure due to Alport Syndrome—a genetic condition characterized by kidney disease, eyesight issues and hearing loss. The treatment? Mindy needed a life-saving kidney transplant. Many of her relatives were tested and weren’t found to be a viable match. But her father-in-law turned out to be one. So on April 12, 2005—three years after Mindy was diagnosed—she got a new kidney.
During this time, McCray was on the pageant circuit and decided to use her platform to raise awareness of her mother’s condition.
“One of the things that we have the privilege of doing during our year is we get the opportunity to represent causes or things that are important not only to us, but to other people,” says McCray, who also has Alport Syndrome. “Going through this experience had such a profound impact on my life that I wanted to do something to help other people, as well. I wanted to utilize the voice of a crown to educate and advocate for people with not only Alport Syndrome, but... CONTINUE READING