New Miss Mississippi ready to promote organ donation cause

Published 11:01 pm Sunday, June 23, 2019

It may have been a sleepless night, but for the newly crowned 2019 Miss Mississippi Mary Margaret Hyer it was worth it.

“I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night,” Hyer said Sunday, just hours after she earned her title. “I shut my eyes, but I didn’t sleep because I figured since it was the best day of my life I wanted to make it last as long as possible, and it’s still happening today.”

Hyer, 23, was the only candidate in the Miss Mississippi Competition who won both her preliminary competitions held earlier in the week.

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“I really did not think it was my year because I had never made top ten, and so for me to win is just so humbling and unexpected,” Hyer, a native of Hattiesburg, said.

Hyer said she knew she was ready for the job, but had just hoped the judges would concur.

“And I am very glad they did,” she said.

Aside from competing in the Miss America Competition, of which a date has yet to be determined, Hyer said she is looking forward to promoting her social impact statement “Advocate Celebrate, Donate: Decreasing the Donor Organ Deficit.”

“This is a huge passion of mine, and it is something I feel so strongly about since it has affected my life personally,” Hyer, whose grandmother was diagnosed by kidney failure in 2010, said. “At that point we started looking at options of dialysis or going on the transplant list.”

Ultimately, Hyer’s mother became the donor after she was found to be a match, and in 2012 her grandmother received her new kidney.

The transplant procedure was successful with Hyer’s grandmother with her regaining full kidney function.

“It was truly a miracle, but it opened up my eyes as to what it feels like to be so helpless, because not everybody has that willing and compatible donor that we had,” she said. “Ever since then it has been my mission to let Mississippians know how vital it is that we all register as organ and tissue donors.

“At any moment we may not need our organs anymore but they could provide such a gift of hope and life to so many people who are in need.”

Hyer said she looks forward to visiting the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital during her reign.

“I love to visit the children and hang out there and play with them, so as Miss Mississippi, I am really really excited to work more closely with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” she said.

Hyer received a degree in English from the University of Mississippi and plans to attend law school and become a prosecuting attorney.

“Ultimately, my dream job would be to be Mississippi’s attorney general,” Hyer said. “I am hoping as Miss Mississippi it will give me some on-the-job-experience.

In an effort to reach her goal of becoming Miss Mississippi, Hyer credits her mom for helping her win the crown.

“She to me is the real Miss Mississippi,” Hyer said. “She has such a servant’s heart and would do anything for her children.”

An example she shared was how attentive her mother was to her after she broke her foot.

Just 23 days before the Miss Mississippi Competition, Hyer said she was boarding their family’s boat and accidental turned her foot the wrong way and ended up cracking her fifth metatarsal.

With the injury, Hyer said, if it had it not been for her mother’s help, she may not have been prepared to compete.

“My mom drove me everywhere so I was not pressing the gas pedal with a broken foot,” she said. “She drove me to Mobile and Ellisville for voice lessons and all around Hattiesburg running errands and doing mock interviews. She was my chauffer and my nurse.

“I admire her so much and I could not have done it without her. I am definitely sharing the crown with her.”