NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. Longtime Pelham resident Patricia Schwab will participate in the Miss New York USA contest in January. She organized a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at an event in New Rochelle on Thursday night.
Schwab, a senior at Iona College majoring in marketing, has focused on raising money for cancer research, but she has also taken up the cause of raising awareness about domestic abuse. The issue has an extremely personal resonance for Schwab.
She was a victim of domestic abuse herself.
"I want to voice to all women that they can rise," Schwab said. "Every person makes a difference."
Schwab said she has tried to emphasize that every woman can raise their confidence, even in seemingly hopeless situations.
"I've been through a lot in my life and I never imagined that I would have the level of confidence that I do now," Schwab said.
Aside from marketing, the senior also has interests in fashion and nutrition. Her passion for the latter is so great, in fact, that a friend dubbed her "Miss Nutrish," a name by which the pageant director now calls her.
Schwab held Thursday's event, designed to raise money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, at the Gnarly Vine, a wine bar on Main Street owned by William and Jen Leon, whom Schwab has known for years after babysitting their children. The couple is also sponsoring her for the pageant.
"It's an honor for us just to help her because she's always helped us," Jen Leon said.
People donated to Schwab's cause and received candy and sangria in return. Patrons could also purchase raffle tickets.
Schwab decided to enter the pageant this year even though she is a full-time student and works a part-time job. Her mother asked her why she did not wait one more year, and Schwab said she did want to regret missing a chance.
"This opportunity came to me," Schwab said. "That's not something I want to know I didn't do in my life."
Contact Pelham reporter Andrew Meola at email@example.com .
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