Callens ‘pictures a cure’ for breast cancer

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Kyra Callens, daughter of Cassandra and Michael Callens, is the reigning Miss Shelby County Outstanding Teen 2016.

Miss Shelby Outstanding Teen 2016 Kyra Callens, a junior at Oak Mountain High School, is sponsoring a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a photogenic contest called, "Picture The Cure" of breast cancer survivors. Pictured are Callens with her aunt and breast cancer survivor, Violet Smiley, the inspiration for her breast cancer MAO platform. (Contributed)

Miss Shelby Outstanding Teen 2016 Kyra Callens, a junior at Oak Mountain High School, is sponsoring a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a photogenic contest called, “Picture The Cure” of breast cancer survivors. Pictured are Callens with her aunt and breast cancer survivor, Violet Smiley, the inspiration for her breast cancer MAO platform. (Contributed)

She is the youngest of three siblings, Daniel and Mi’a who was Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen 2011.

“I saw the benefits that Mi’a received as Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen,” said Callens. “I loved the idea of getting scholarships while doing something that I enjoy!”

Callens is a junior at Oak Mountain High School where she is a member of the National Honor Society, six-year member of the school’s show choir, Barbizon modeling student, eight-year student at The Pointe Dance Arts Company, Duke of Edinburg silver medalist, 24/7 dance scholarship winner, and advocate for breast cancer awareness and cure which is her platform.

“My family and I know personally the heartbreak, struggle and triumph brought by this devastating disease,” said Callens. “My grandmother, great aunts and cousins have been affected. Recently, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a double mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy, radiation and reconstructive surgery.

“My Aunt Violet Smiley and I have always had a very special bond. So, with her diagnosis and treatment, I knew I had to support efforts to find a cure. The Susan G. Komen Foundation was an easy choice for me to pour out my efforts.”

Since 2012 Callens has volunteered over 200 hours and has raised over $8,000.

To raise awareness and funds for the Komen Foundation as Miss SC Teen, she is organizing a people’s choice photogenic contest for breast cancer survivors called “Picture The Cure.”

Breast cancer survivors Jerrie Callens, Lonia Parhm, Dorothy Hill, Thelma Cotton, Pam Holton, Kasandra Brundidge, Denise Williams, Gloria Turk, Amy Miller, Violet Smiley, Tracie Williams, Angie Kurosaka, Heather Turner, Litisha Croom Gaston, Raquel Smith and Kennya Blunt received complimentary hair, make-up and photo shoots at Vecchia’s restaurant in Hoover on Saturday, Oct. 3.

“My main goal is to make this experience be refreshing for our survivors and to make them feel beautiful and free,” Callens said.

To vote, go to Picturethecure.yolasite.com, minimum $5 donation per vote, no limit on the number of votes that you can cast per person.

All proceeds to be donated to the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure!