Miss WCU 2009, Rosemary Kolmus is taking her platform to new heights this year. Recently named Miss WCU 2009, Kolmus is a junior Business Management major, with a minor in Spanish. This talented young woman won the judges over on Feb. 7th with an interview and vocal talent, but most importantly her platform LiveSTRONG, also known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation.She chose this platform because she lost her mother to colon cancer just two and a half years ago. After her mother lost her six year-long fight with cancer, Kolmus has decided to continue her mother’s fight for her. At the young age of 11 year old, Kolmus was informed about her mother, not knowing what cancer was. Today cancer has become such a well-known disease that everyone knows about.
To Kolmus, the Miss WCU pageant was all about her platform. She explained, “I am so glad I did the pageant. This experience isn’t about pageantry and walking around in a gown. It’s a lot more than just a pageant. I got involved with the Miss WCU program so that I could become more involved in the cancer community. Having the title will make me better able to network with people and promote LiveSTRONG. As cliché as it may sound, I want to tell people that there is hope.”
Kolmus’s goal for the upcoming year is to get all the students on campus involved. “
Yes, I lost my mom to cancer, but I know there are a ton of other students on campus that are going through or have been through this same experience. My mom’s condition started going down hill my first semester freshmen year. I want to be able to reach out to those who have a loved one with cancer, and let them know that they’re not alone. I want to support them. If you turn around and help people that have cancer, it helps you mourn and get through the loss of your own loved one. I don’t want people to be afraid to talk about these issues,” Kolmus said.
For the upcoming year, Kolmus will be making many appearances here on campus as well as in the community. She’s already planning on becoming highly involved with Relay for Life. In addition she will be at West Chester Library’s “Princess Story Time,” and working with Chester County Hospital.
She wants people to realize what the LiveSTRONG organization is and how it differs from other organizations. The American Cancer Society raises money to go towards finding a cure for cancer. The Lance Armstrong Foundation raises money to find a cure, but also gives money towards programs that benefit people that are suffering with cancer and helps them as much as possible right now.
“I want to get people involved with the cancer community. I want the community to know that West Chester cares,” Kolmus said.
One event that Kolmus hopes to make huge is The LiveSTRONG Challenge. It’s a 5K walk/run on Sunday, August 23, 2009 before the fall semester begins. Held in Blueball, PA, Kolmus hopes to gain the support of all student groups on campus to come and attend the event.
Another event that she has in mind, involves getting students together from the residence halls. She hopes to get groups of students to come together and talk to chemotherapy patients and cancer patients from Chester County and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She wants students to come together to socialize with these patients and let them know that West Chester students care.
When asked what Kolmus would accomplish during her year if there were no restraints, Kolmus replied by saying that she would love to bring Lance Armstrong to campus. “To get all of the students involved and come listen to Lance Armstrong speak would be incredible.”
Oct. 2, 2009 Kolmus has already designated as LiveSTRONG Day on West Chester’s campus. It’s already a nationally recognized day, marking the day that Lance Armstrong was originally diagnosed with cancer. Kolmus is hoping for t-shirts, speakers, finishing the day off with the huge event for all students to participate in. She hopes this day will impact the campus in a way it has never been changed before.
Although her year as Miss WCU 2009 has just begun, Kolmus hopes to look back on her time in one year from now to see all the good that she has done. She hopes to change the lives of others.
“I just want to see that my year was not about a crown and a sash. I want to see that LiveSTRONG was implemented and brought to our campus to stay. I want to touch people with my platform and see that others have learned from it.”
Our campus and the West Chester community will benefit so much by having this extraordinary young woman being our Miss WCU 2009, but what will this one in a lifetime year teach her?
She will grow as an individual in many ways, as Kolmus said, “I think it [her year as Miss WCU] will help me learn more about myself. After I lost my mom, I lost part of myself because I defined myself by her. She was my best friend. Since she died, I’ve slowly been gaining that piece back. Through the idea of LiveSTRONG and helping people with cancer, I hope to continue to fill that void that I lost along with my mother.”
Kolmus is fortunate enough to have the support of two former Miss WCU’s on campus, including Miss WCU 2007 Andrea Helfrich and Miss WCU 2008 Jackie Chilcote. While the Miss WCU family is extremely close and well connected, these two former winners will be great resources to have during her year.
“Jackie has told me that she will be around to help me in any way she can and Andrea has already helped me with networking. Even the girls that aren’t on campus anymore, because they’ve graduated, (they) are so helpful. Everyone has been really supportive already. Just like these girls are supporting me, I will be supporting Andrea and Jackie at Miss Philadelphia in March,” Kolmus said.
With the support system that Kolmus already has and all of her fabulous ideas, Miss WCU 2009 looks to have an incredible year ahead of her. If you have interest in getting the support of Miss WCU 2009 Rosemary Kolmus behind your organization or event, feel free to email her at MissWCU2009@gmail.com.
Jackie Aliotta is a fourth-year student majoring in communications with minors in business, technical writing and Spanish. She can be reached at JA60950@wcupa.edu.