Miss CT and HuskyTHON Co-Director, Eliza Kanner, is #AllInForKids and heading to Miss America!

This year’s Miss CT, who is also Co-Executive Director of HuskyTHON, Eliza Kanner, has a special connection to Connecticut Children’s and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In her own words, she shares how important CT Children’s is to her. 

The kids that I have met, who have been impacted by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, are my heroes. The national platform for the Miss America Organization is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, but my connection to CMN Hospitals started long before I was competing for Miss America. When I was one-year old, I was experiencing recurring 106 degree fevers, and doctors across the state were unable to explain what was causing them. If the fevers continued, I could have lost brain functions, including the ability to speak. My family was referred to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the new, and only, free-standing pediatric hospital in Connecticut. Thanks to the wonderful care I received from my team at Connecticut Children’s, they were not only able to diagnose me with Cyclic Neutropenia, but it was then that I began my special bond with Connecticut Children’s. The first time I heard of HuskyTHON at the University of Connecticut, I knew it was going to be a cause with which I would become extremely involved.

My personal platform, “For The Kids,” is an expansion of the already existing relationship between CMN Hospitals and the Miss America Organization. My goal is to celebrate the 300 Dance Marathons on college campuses across the country, by connecting the 50 other state organizations to the Dance Marathon programs in their respective state in order to increase awareness and support. In August at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition, the Miss America Organization hosted their first-ever Dance Marathon. I had the privilege of working with Brian Golden from CMN Hospitals to make sure the program was impactful for the titleholders at the event, and those who were being exposed to the Dance Marathon movement for the first time. We worked on building in cause-connections throughout the event (ex. raise $62 in the next five minutes for the 62 kids admitted into a CMN Hospital every minute). I was also honored to write the speech that Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017, and Nicole Jia, Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2017, read during the closing ceremony. At HuskyTHON, we do the “Circle of Hope” to conclude the 18 hours of dancing for Connecticut Children’s, and it was so special to have the Miracle Families from Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children cut the hospital bands of all the titleholders. Nothing is more impactful than understanding what the hospital bracelet represents.

“This bracelet symbolizes the first moments after a family hears the worst diagnosis they could imagine for their child. This bracelet symbolizes the days when families are fighting for their child’s life. But, this bracelet also symbolizes hope. It symbolizes the quality of care from the staff at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, who treat their patients like kids, NOT a diagnosis. It symbolizes the fighting spirit in these kids, and the strength to look past the hardest of days and look forward to the day when the doctor looks at a child and says, “You are going home.” 

I am proud to be HuskyTHON. I am proud to be Dance Marathon. I am proud to be Miss Connecticut and I am proud to be Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Anything, “For The Kids.” – Eliza

As she heads off to Miss America, from everyone here at CT Children’s, we are sending her our best wishes and good luck in the competition! Thank you for all you do Eliza!

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