Abbotsford’s Aman Merdha is in the running for Miss Canada and wants to use the pageant as a launchpad to help run a program she created with Chilliwack’s Valley Huskers football team to encourage children to read.
Merdha, a 2017 W.J. Mouat Secondary grad, has lived with the skin disorder known as vitiligo since the age of five. Vitiligo sees skin lose its pigment cells and results in discoloured patches in different areas of the body.
After years of living with vitiligo, Merdha began working with the Save Your Skin Foundation to learn more about her condition and allow herself and others to embrace her inside and out.
She said working with SYSF made her write a book about her experiences with the disorder and eventually led to the Ready, Set, Read program being created.
“I published a childrens picture book about vitiligo, titled “Hey I’ve got Spots” and am teaming up with the Huskers to encourage kids to continue reading through the program, as well as understand and acknowledge physical differences,” she said. “The program will be held every Sunday afternoon in the Huskers Clubhouse and kids will be able to attend a book reading of a book that stands for three causes: Representation, Inclusion, and Diversity.”
Merdha will hold other events this summer including a read under the stars event and has partnered with both the Abbotsford board of education and the Fraser Valley Regional Library to read in both libraries and schools starting in September.
The University of the Fraser Valley student will complete her Bachelor in Kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science later this year and hopes to gain admission to a physiotherapy program post graduation in hopes of working with a professional sports team.
“Winning Miss Canada would provide me the money to run this program and also give me a larger platform to make it happen,” she said.
Merdha also competed in the 2019 Miss BC event and won the Miss Lower Mainland honours. She heads to Laval, Que. for the Miss Canada event from May 26 to 29.
To vote for Merdha, visit misscanada.org/aman-m.