Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kayla has the most beautiful eyes in South Carolina!

People always told Michelle Helferich of Summerville that her daughter has pretty eyes.
Now it's official.

Kayla Helferich, 8, a student at Windsor Hill Art Infused Elementary, was named the state winner for Prevent Blindness America's "Most Beautiful Eyes" contest by receiving the most votes online in September.

The contest, which was open to children up to age 17, was to bring attention to eye health, according to Prevent Blindness.

"Kayla has Down syndrome, and one of the characteristics of Down syndrome is Brushfield spots in her eyes," said Michelle Helferich. "They look like white sparkles, and people always comment about how pretty her eyes are."

Helferich, who is also the mother of Lucas, 3, and the wife of Joe, who is in the Air Force, writes a blog called Big Blueberry Eyes.

"Somebody from Prevent Blindness contacted me and asked if I wanted to put the info about the contest on my blog," she said. "It sounded like a good cause, so I said yes. Then I thought, 'I'm going to send my daughter's picture in, too.' It seems like there are always negative perceptions about Down syndrome, and I thought this was something that's in a positive light."

Kayla will receive a pair of Eagle Eyes Optics Astro and Rocketeer Sunglasses for kids and a Kids' Fisher Space Pen. She also advances to the final round, which will be decided by a panel of celebrity judges.

Three finalists and their families will go to Chicago for the Prevent Blindness America Annual Awards Banquet on Nov. 18, where the overall winner will be announced. The winner gets a $25,000 college scholarship and will be the face of the "Star Pupils" program, the national children's eye health and safety program from Prevent Blindness America.

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