Miss Philadelphia using her crown to inspire kids at CHOP

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She's spent years battling a lung disease and is now using her crown to inspire kids facing similar battles. (WPVI)

The new Miss Philadelphia is not your average beauty queen. She's spent years battling a lung disease and is now using her crown to inspire kids facing similar battles.

22-year-old Julia Rae Schlucter was recently the featured performer at Seacrest Studios inside the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She's also sung in the 6abc Thanksgiving Day parade, and her voice helped her become the new Miss Philadelphia.

Now as part of her platform, she's helping other children chase their dreams.

Visiting with kids like Alyssa Rieger and Hannah Stetson, she tells them she was once a patient too. She has cystic fibrosis.

Even now, Julia has to do breathing treatments for two hours every day.

As Miss Philadelphia she's raising awareness about the disease, and also for child life specialists.

Julia explains, "They are the unsung heroes of our nation's children's hospitals."

They bring art, music and pet therapy, and fun activities, like CHOP's "Shake It Off" video seen on YouTube.

Danielle Stewart is a Child Activity Coordinator. She tells us, "Even though they are sick, they're still kids and at the end of the day, they just want to play."

Hannah Stetson's father, Fred, says, "It's really hard to see your daughter in pain but it's a pleasure seeing her smile, laughing and in joy, and that's what they do here."

Julia tells me when she was born doctors thought she'd maybe see high school graduation.

She says, "I'm surpassing that already and the outlook is great. The average life span is now 37."

And she's looking forward to continuing her fight, singing and representing Philadelphia.

"I have the crown for 365 days so I am trying to be a busy as possible," she said.

And she's definitely busy. On top of being Miss Philadelphia, Julia will graduate from Fordham University this Spring. She also runs her own non-profit called Singing at the Top of My Lungs. And she will compete in the Miss Pennsylvania pageant this year as well.
Related Topics:
healthphilly newshealthcheckchildren's hospital of philadelphiaWest Philadelphia
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