Miss Universe Canada finalist wants to raise $150K for smiles

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

Local Miss Universe Canada delegate Vanessa Chauhan has big goals ahead. As she prepares for the 13th national competition in June, she hopes to make others smile.

Vanessa Chauhan takes the stage for the 2015 Miss Universe Canada preliminaries in Toronto on May 23, 2015. Representing Fort McMurray for her second time, she will compete for the title in May. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Vanessa Chauhan takes the stage for the 2015 Miss Universe Canada preliminaries in Toronto on May 23, 2015. Representing Fort McMurray for her second time, she will compete for the title in May. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Chauhan has a goal to raise $150,000 for Operation Smile Canada through multiple community fundraisers in Fort McMurray.

The ‘Valentine’s Day Bash’ is her first scheduled event, which takes place on February 13 at The Canadian Brewhouse. The event will feature a silent auction and a 50/50 draw with music provided by DJ Qpid and DJ Flip. Ticket are $10 per person and includes a free beverage and $6-off any appetizer on the menu.

“I will be fundraising to help myself with the financial part of competing. But, most of all, my biggest goal is to raise awareness and funds for Operation Smile,” said Chauhan, a 25-year-old Fort McMurray resident. “I know it’s a big goal, but I know I can do this.”

According to its website, Operation Smile Canada “mobilizes a world of generous hearts to heal children’s smiles and transform lives.” The donations to the organization help fund the medical surgeries for children around the world who suffer from cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities.

“Operation Smile is an organization that goes to different countries and provides surgical care for the poorest four per cent in the world,” she explained. “These children wouldn’t develop properly and, in some cases, they could even die if they didn’t receive the care Operation Smile provides.”

Chauhan is one of the 2015 National Finalists for Miss Universe Canada out of 56 women from across the country. She will be competing for the title for a second time this June. To help with funding for the 2016 competition, Chauhan already has family, friends, and local sponsors on-board, including: Helen Arong Fine Fashions, Fort McMurray Dental Centre and Allure Medi Spa.

She has been also preparing by training with local professionals.

“I have been seeing registered dietitian Lana Broks at Higher Health and have been training with Mariska Booyens at MacDonald Island Park,” Chauhan said. “Mariska is Fort McMurray’s top personal trainer and she is really helping me achieve my fitness goals.”

Born in Abbotsford, B.C., Chauhan grew up in Stony Plain and moved to Fort McMurray in 2011. As an active volunteer for the Fort McMurray SPCA, Wood Buffalo Food Bank and Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s community clean-ups, she said she loves it here and is proud to represent the community at Miss Universe Canada.

“We have a very charitable community that makes sure to take care of each other,” she said. “If you look at our population, you will see people from every province and territory.”

“We have a very charitable community that makes sure to take care of each other,” she said. “If you look at our population, you will see people from every province and territory. People from nearly every country around the world. All of these people came to Fort McMurray for a chance to better themselves and their family position.”

Learn more about Chauhan and Miss Universe Canada at www.missuniversecanada.ca. For residents seeking to purchase tickets for the Valentine’s Day Bash, go to the event listing.

– Connect Weekly –