Alison Appleby: Teen with autism and epilepsy crowned Miss Dallas Teen USA, thanks service dog for support

Alison Appleby: Teen with autism and epilepsy crowned Miss Dallas Teen USA, thanks service dog for support
Alison Appleby, who has autism and epilepsy, was crowned Miss Teen Dallas USA along with her furry service dog Brady, who received a crown as well (Screenshot from WFAA/YouTube)

DALLAS, TEXAS: Alison Appleby, 17, who has been crowned as Miss Dallas Teen USA 2022 recently said how she was in a complete "shock" after she won the title. Alison, who has autism and epilepsy, thanked her service dog Brady who was there by her side throughout the pegeant. Appleby said that she had never done any beauty pageant before and she only got her dress three days before the event.

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According to Fox News, Appleby's goal behind participating in the event with Brady was to "show people that they could do it with a disability." She said, "I was still terrified the whole time but having Brady by my side made it so much easier, he is my support through it all."

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In some adorable clips from the crowning ceremony, the crown was presented to both Appleby and her partner Brady. However, her furry friend did not seem very fond of the adornment as he tried to shake it off his head. Recalling the heartwarming moment Alison said, "When they crowned Brady, my heart sunk — my heart absolutely melted. He didn’t like it at first, but he got used to it pretty fast."

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The experience was a memorable event even for the Miss Dallas pageant director Jennifer Ortiz who shared that it was a "fantastic experience" to crown both Appleby and Brady. "Alison really won the entire pageant in interview. She was just absolutely amazing — the way that she spoke, she was very intelligent, very communicative with our judges," Ortiz said. A 20-year pegeant veteran, she shared the thoughts behind the planning and said that once the officials learnt about Brady's participation in the event, they purchased a small crown for him in case Appleby won. She further jokingly added, "And if she didn't, then my dog would have a new Halloween costume."

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Ortiz shared her appreciation for Appleby and said that her win had "opened many doors." She said, "To see someone come in that represents spreading that awareness so well — and she was just phenomenal from the start — it was very heartwarming to see her crowned."

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Appleby said that she was "just thrilled to go" for the competition. She said, "It took me a few days to understand that I won, but I’m still in shock about it. I never expected this to happen." She said that she had no prior training for the competition.

Encouraging others out there, she said, "Don’t let your setbacks make you give up on your dreams. You can do it — and you can be successful. You don’t have to give up on life just because you have an illness."

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