JACKSON TWP. Mackenzie Roach has been helping others since she was eight years old. After winning the 2019 State of Ohio Miss Amazing Junior Teen Queen, she’s found a whole new platform to help others.
Ohio’s Miss Amazing organizers describe their contestants as confident, able and amazing. The annual pageant provides opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment to help them reach their full potential. Anyone meeting Mackenzie for the first time will quickly realize that confident, able and amazing completely describes her personality.
Mackenzie, a freshman at Jackson High School, was crowned the State of Ohio Miss Amazing Junior Teen Queen in October. The pageant includes time for an introduction, evening wear, talent and answering interview questions from the judges. And, in August, she will travel to Chicago to compete in the National Miss Amazing Pageant.
“She was selected based on her impact on the community through her philanthropy and community services commitment," said Mackenzie's mother, Shawna. “Mackenzie will have an opportunity to represent the state at local parades, pageants and festivals throughout the year. She will also have the opportunity to attend fundraising events and speaking engagements to demonstrate that having a disability does not have to limit the influence you can have on your community and those around you.”
Mackenzie will able to attend self-advocacy workshops so that she can continue to make an impact on inclusion and improving the lives of those with disabilities with a focus on leadership, personal growth and how to overcome obstacles while at the national pageant.
It's important for her to help others because of all the support she has received since her eighth birthday. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor the day after she turned eight in September of 2011. She underwent a lengthy surgery to remove it.
Mackenzie developed a rare complication resulting in her having to relearn everything from how to sit, swallow, walk and talk. She spent 120 days at Akron Children’s Hospital followed by months of rehabilitation.
During the past seven plus years, she has attended over 250 fundraisers and events to raise money for Akron Children’s Hospital, Make A Wish Foundation, Victory Gallop and Give Kids the World. Shawna said Mackenzie has been involved with fundraisers that have cumulatively raised more than $1 million. She has helped raise more than $250,000 herself.
“I want to help kids in the hospital because it can get kind of boring and sometimes kids get homesick,” Mackenzie said.” I really want to help them feel more comfortable with their hospital stay.”
Shawna said that Mackenzie has already hosted her first fundraiser called PAC (Parents Advisory Council) Gives Back at Akron Children’s Hospital. Mackenzie organized friends and volunteers to stay with the kids in their hospital rooms while parents went to the cafeteria for Thanksgiving meal. The volunteers stayed with the kids and did crafts and games with them, so the parents could step out of the room for a few minutes to enjoy a meal. The event also included massages and manicures for the parents.
“Mackenzie is very caring especially for her age. She knows what the kids are going through and has worked hard to help them feel better during their hospital stays,” Shawna said.
Mackenzie is now 15 years old and would like to be veterinarian technician. She’s been dancing since she was two years old and is dancing in the Jackson School for the Arts program at Jackson High School. Dance is also part of her talent section for the pageants.
Shawna said the pageant allows the opportunity to show how much talent girls and women with disabilities have and how much they can do. Mackenzie said the pageants are a lot of fun and she gets to make many new friends including her most recent assigned buddy, Jenna. Each participant is paired with a volunteer buddy who becomes their guide and support system throughout the pageant.
Miss Amazing offers several categories for those competing with ages ranging from five to 36 and over. The National Miss Amazing pageant has close to the same format offering a themed gala and it showcases the talent of the participants.
Mackenzie has a friend from Springfield Township, Makenzie Yovanovich, who won Ohio Miss Amazing pre-teen for 2019. The two best friends will both travel to the national event in Chicago in late summer.
Participating in the pageants has been fun for Mackenzie on many levels. She gets to share her talent for dance and she gets to make new friends. When it comes to her future, she said, “I plan to continue to try to help others by going to and having fundraisers even as an adult.”