Desirée Pérez is Miss Connecticut, one of this year’s Miss USA 2014 contestants and she has an amazing story, filled with a difficult medical history.
1. A Tumor in Her Jaw Prompted Her Family to Move to the United States
— Desirée Pérez (@RealMissCTusa) June 1, 2014
Desirée Pérez had a medical scare as a child, which made her family decide to move to the states in order to seek better medical treatment. Yahoo TV reports that at age 7, Pérez developed a tumor in her jaw and she had to go through several reconstructive surgeries over the years because of it. The tumor was benign, but she’s needed 13 surgeries thus far. Her last surgery was over two years ago and she has to go for check-ups every six months.
Her Miss USA contestant profile states that:
She hopes to use her title to advocate for children that have been exposed to cancer.
2. Pérez Had to Have a Bone Transplant
Yahoo TV reports Pérez revealing an extensive surgery she had to undergo: “I’ve had 13 surgeries since I was 7,” she said, including a bone transplant (her hip bone was transplanted into her jaw), several back-to-back surgeries, and the most recent operation that left her in bed for three months with her mouth wired closed.
3. She Once Shaved Her Head
When Pérez was 19 years old, she actually shaved her head to put herself in the shoes of someone with cancer. She’s all about educating oneself when it comes to medicine. She told Yahoo TV:
I won’t say it was a cool experience, but it taught me a lesson. It’s given me the ability to do anything in life. For me, inspiring others and helping others … a smile or a story can help someone. It’s not about you, it’s about someone else … helping others in society.
4. Pérez Is the Only One to Graduate from College
As the first person to graduate from college in her family, her relatives have been truly supportive of Pérez. Plus, pageants runs in the family’s blood.
I’m from Venezuelan background, so we’re big on pageants. I grew up with it, and it’s instilled in my heart.
5. She’s Buddied Up With Miss West Virginia
— Desirée Pérez (@RealMissCTusa) May 24, 2014
Pérez has been hanging out with Miss West Virginia during the Miss USA competition, taking selfies, getting ready together, and sharing stories. The two are currently roommates for the Miss USA journey.
— Desirée Pérez (@RealMissCTusa) May 26, 2014