OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi student Adrian Turner of Tupelo is set to compete in the Miss Mississippi pageant July 10-13.
Turner, who is in her fourth professional year of pharmacy school, will be competing as Miss North Central Mississippi.
“I hope to show that with determination, drive and passion, anything can be accomplished,” Turner said. ”I never thought that I would be able to prepare for Miss Mississippi during my third year of pharmacy school, but competing was something I truly wanted to do.”
Her platform is “Hope, Health and Happiness: Support for Children’s Hospitals of America.” The platform allows Turner to promote volunteerism, advocate and raise funds for children’s hospitals. She will also be raising funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.
“Being a student of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has not only helped me grow as a professional but also solidified my passion for health care advocacy for kids,” Turner said. ”It has allowed me to volunteer for the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children (at the UM Medical Center in Jackson) and see the benefits of the services that hospitals such as Batson can provide to children and their families. It’s not just health care services they provide – it’s love, support, hope and happiness, which makes me work 200 times harder to promote these organizations.”
Turner’s passion for supporting medical research developed at an early age.
“Over the years, cancer has greatly affected my family,” she said. “While in the sixth grade, my mother was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. Through the determination and skill of medical and pharmaceutical researchers, she has been in remission for the last six years. Sadly, funding and support for such research is limited, and treatment costs continue to rise.”
Turner was selected as Miss University in 2010 During her reign, she raised more than $2,600 and more than 400 books and toys for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where she routinely volunteered at fundraising events.
While participating recently in the RebelTHON, a dance marathon benefiting Le Bonheur, Turner had an experience she said she would never forget: reconnecting with a patient she had met years ago.
“I first met him when he was about 5 years old,” Turner said. “He was shy, but so full of heart and hope. Today, he is 9 years old and is a living testament to the hard work and love that these children and their families receive at Le Bonheur and, likewise, at Batson. The shy little boy I had met is now a healthy, happy child and remembered me.
“He immediately gave me a huge hug and wanted me to take pictures with him in the photo booth and teach him how to do the dance the RebelTHON volunteers were doing. His spirit inspires me daily, and it was touching to see the influence that I could have on others.”
School of Pharmacy faculty members have observed Turner’s dedication to helping others.
“Adrian definitely has a passion for service,” said Kristopher Harrell, director of experiential affairs for the pharmacy school. “She’s organized several events this past semester to benefit Blair E. Batson, including the character Band-Aid drive, the Valentine’s craft day with the kids and the pharmacy team’s participation in the ‘Color Me Rad’ race. Her passion is so infectious that her classmates have eagerly joined her in these events, and the children have had so much fun being around her.”
Turner said that she feels prepared to handle the responsibility of Miss Mississippi.
“This program is so much more to me than a crown,” Turner said. “It is my dream to represent my Mississippi on the Miss America stage. I have worked towards this goal with determination, drive and heart, and would uphold the title with grace, class and dignity.”
Harrell said that Turner would be perfect for the role.
“(Turner) shared with me that she chose pharmacy because she wanted to serve and care for others in need, and that’s exactly why I think she would be a fantastic Miss Mississippi,” he said. ”She wants to make a difference and is willing to put forth the effort to do so. I am very proud of her accomplishments and know she will do very well in the pageant.”
To join Turner in supporting the Children’s Miracle Network, please visit http://www.missamericaforkids.org/Donate/7049860d-0228-44d1-ba8a-3b593df19a8a.