Bits ‘n’ Pieces: Pageant platform for awareness



Desiree Quinn doesn’t really consider herself the beauty pageant type. But to promote awareness of fibromyalgia, the 35-year-old east Vancouver resident decided she’d give it a go anyway.

So far, it’s paying off.

Quinn was recently named Mrs. Clark County International as part of the 2012 Mrs. Washington International Pageant.

“I’m not really a pageant kind of girl, but this gave me an excellent opportunity to spread awareness about fibromyalgia, which affects about 10 million Americans, about 90 percent of them women,” Quinn said.

Quinn got involved in the pageant at the urging of her cousin, Misty McCord, who has been named Mrs. Southern Oregon International with the same group.

“It’s great we’re actually going to be pageant sisters,” Quinn said.

Still, the most important thing for Quinn is to let people know about fibromyalgia, which can be hard to diagnose and has no cure. The medical description of the disease is “long-term, bodywide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.”

Quinn is passionate about helping research and awareness because it has had a profound impact on her family, she said. Quinn has it, as do her grandmother, mother and sister, she said.

“The toughest thing about the condition is that it’s so individualized,” Quinn said. “For me, I can have really low energy, sleep disturbances, achy muscles, migraines. My mom has restless legs syndrome and other symptoms. It can run the gamut.”

The contest will continue into March, when Quinn could win up to $10,000 in cash and prizes and could be chosen to compete in the Mrs. International Pageant in Chicago.

For more information on the pageant visit, and to learn about the disease go to

Chicken prize will send local woman to Paris

Rebecca Spence now knows what a year’s supply of free chicken looks like.

Spence, who lives in the Fisher’s Landing area, won the second annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest with her recipe for Crispy Orange Chicken with Fennel, Avocado and Orange Salad. Her prize was $10,000 and a year’s supply of chicken from Foster Farms.

The free chicken came in the form of 104 $10 coupons, she said.

“I’m still pinching myself,” Spence said of the win. “Everybody I know now I go up to them and say, ‘Hey do you like chicken? Do you want a coupon?’”

After winning the grand prize, Spence became ineligible to compete in next year’s Foster Farms event.

“I’m retired from chicken,” she said. “We’re just going to eat it now.”

The victory has her thinking about other contests, though. She might try her hand at the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest next year, she said.

“I thought that might be fun,” she said. “They have a product list you have to go through, and you have to use two of them.”

Spence said she plans on using the $10,000 prize money to take a trip to Paris with her old college roommate and to create a college fund for her 8-month-old grandson, Calvin Sahebjami.

She’s also going to buy a Kindle Fire for her husband, she said.

“He was so good supporting me,” Spence said.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood 360-735-4561, or e-mail