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'Someone has to build them back up'

Zoe Greszler • Aug 3, 2018 at 4:00 AM

WAKEMAN — Elizabeth (Lizzie) Jackson was crowned queen at Saturday’s Wakeman Firefighter’s Homecoming Festival.

Though she wears the crown and sash, she’s not one to hog the royal lime light. In fact she’s been working hard to make sure young girls who need it most get a taste of what it’s like to wear the tiara. 

Jackson is a 17-year-old junior in the visual media tech program at EHOVE Career Center and Western Reserve High School. She said she decided to compete for the Fire Queen crown because she “wanted to make a difference and make as many girls as I can feel good about themselves.” 

“It's so important to me because girls are always put down and someone has to build them back up,” she added.

Jackson didn’t realize the impact she’d be making on the community though once she won the honor.

The crown comes with a few strings attached, such as going to local festivals, promoting the village of Wakeman and setting up projects that make a difference in the community. One of Jackson’s projects is to make girls “Queen for Day” by hosting events around homecoming and prom that gives them the opportunity to be treated like royalty when families can't afford a dress, shoes and accessories. She’s also extending the love to younger girls who may be battling a hard time.

One of the first people Jackson helped was a 2-year-old girl named Clare, who was a patient at University Hospital diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), a highly aggressive brain tumor with no known cure.

“I am dressing up and going to the hospitals bringing little girls joy to see a princess while being in the hospital. ... I did something that was hard to do for me, but I knew I had to do it, it made me feel so good inside,” she said. “This little girl is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She will steal your heart instantly.”

Jackson said Clare’s “only wish was to meet a princess,” so she decided to grant that wish. She said it made Clare’s day to have a “real queen” visit and make her into a princess with her very own crown, sash and plenty of gifts. The two had a tea party, blew bubbles and took pictures to remember the occasion — simple things that meant the world to Clare. 

Jackson, the daughter of Whitney Stentz and Andy Jackson, said it was difficult at first, but helped her to realize making a difference in someone’s day is something she loves doing.

“The smile on her face was worth it all,” she said. “I never realized how hard it was going to be, but I'm going to continue to do it. There are so many other girls that are sick too that desire the same (thing) and I'm going to try my best to make them feel how Clare felt today ... one girl at a time.”

It’s not just young ones that need to feel special and pampered though. Lizzie Jackson’s “Queen for a Day” project will help lower-income teens not to feel left out on their special days. 

“I'm collecting dresses to help girls (who) can't afford to buy dresses for homecoming and prom, so they can feel like they queens they are without being ashamed or not go because they can't afford a dress to go,” she said. 

“I come from a big family, so being able to afford things like dresses for stuff is hard to get sometimes. I understand the struggle and want to help girls with that struggle (so they don’t) have to wear something that's a hand-me-down from a sibling. They have the option for something different.”

Anyone interested in either making a monetary, clothing, shoe or accessory donation or that want or need the Queen for a Day help can contact Jackson through Facebook.

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