At 5 months of age, many babies are making their first attempts at real speech.  They are gearing up to start crawling, maybe learning how to sit on their own.  A baby’s grasp gets stronger and they start trying to grab things on their own.

At just 5 months old, this young lady was grasping for survival.

Impact Images Studio

Miss Northwest, Alex O’Connor

(Photo courtesy of Impact Images Studio)

“I had heart surgery to repair a left anomalous coronary.  It’s a congenital defect,” Alex told me earlier this week.  “I was in the ICU for two months at Denver Children’s Hospital.”

A quick search of the condition reveals some alarming phrases.  Very rare… sudden death as a complication.. heart attack in the baby.

In this case, a miracle.  Alex has grown into a beautiful young woman competing for Miss Nebraska as Miss Northwest.  She’s also using her title to share her story.

“My platform is ‘Be Heart Healthy’ because I am a heart survivor,” said Alex.  “My mission is to spread the word about how to have a healthy heart.”


Alex with Miss Chadron 2013 Meghan Thalken

Alex says that passion is one of the reasons people should care about the Miss Nebraska organization.

“It is not just a pageant,” said Alex.  “All the girls in this organization are truly wonderful and all we ever want is to make a positive difference in someone’s life.”

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Participating has also had an impact on Alex.  A senior at Paxton High School, she previously competed in Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

“Being in this system I have learned lifelong lessons that I will never forget,” said Alex.  “Just overall, I’m more confident and mature for my age.”


Alex says she loves performing in front of an audience, but her favorite part of Miss Nebraska is the Evening Gown portion.

“I love to dress up.  I mean, who doesn’t?” said Alex.  “I love showing who I am by being confident and graceful.”

As for Lifestyle and Fitness, or swimsuit, Alex says she sees both sides of the controversy, but believes it is a necessary aspect of the competition.

“We are competing for Miss Nebraska, maybe even Miss America, and the lucky lady who gets it needs to be in good shape so she can be ready for anything,” said Alex.


It is truly amazing how life can change and come full circle.  From a baby with a sick heart, to a young woman with a heart of gold.

“I want to be Miss Nebraska because it has always been a dream for me since I was little,” said Alex.  “For me, it’s not all about getting the crown, for me, it’s knowing that I have the chance to make a difference in someone’s life.”


Connect with Miss Northwest, Alex O’Connor

on Facebook


The Miss Nebraska pageant takes place June 5-7 in North Platte, Nebraska.  For more information, visit the Miss Nebraska website.


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3 thoughts on “Survivor

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