By Laura Nolen
Teresa Hyatt is not your average Apollo Beach resident. Hyatt was awarded the title of Mrs. Tampa United States 2013– 2014 and will have the distinct honor to represent Tampa and compete for the title of Mrs. Florida United States in April 2014.
The Mrs. Florida United States System is known as the Pageant with a Purpose. “We use our titles throughout the community to make a difference,” said Hyatt. Her platform focuses on cancer and that “Early Detection Saves Lives!” Hyatt describes herself as “a mom fighting for the future of myself, my children and my family.” She has been married to her husband, Don Hyatt, for 20 years and they have three children: Joseph (13), Jacob (11) and Michael (9).
After losing her brother to bone cancer at the age of 50 in 2003, Hyatt became a public figure for promoting the importance of early detection for the many forms of cancers that affect people every day. She also lost her mother to breast cancer, her father to bone cancer and her sister is a four-time cancer survivor who was recently diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma. Hyatt’s other sister has just undergone surgery for skin cancer. This strong family history of cancer puts Hyatt and her children at a much higher risk for developing the disease.
In 2012, the American Cancer Society officially made Hyatt its National Representative after all her years of speaking engagements and helping in the Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events raising funds and awareness. “It is such an honor to be a National Representative for the American Cancer Society,” Hyatt added.
We often hear that knowledge is power and Hyatt agreed, saying: “Knowing your body, doing self exams, knowing what changes to look for and taking action when something doesn’t feel right. Know your family history and what your personal risks may be. Don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare professionals questions and do your research. This knowledge is very powerful and can be the difference between life and death.”
Finally, if people in the community would like to get involved by volunteering with the American Cancer Society, whom should they contact? Hyatt responded: “If you want to get involved and help create a world with more birthdays, the American Cancer Society wants you. You can check your local areas and get involved in the fundraising walks Relay for Life and Making Strides against Breast Cancer or even volunteer to help at these events.” To see how you can get involved, go to www.cancer.org.