To describe Jackie Mayer as a Miss A. Sister and pageant winner doesn’t do her justice. To describe her as a stroke survivor doesn’t do her justice, either. She is so much more than that, and yet her reign started a lifetime of service and volunteerism that could have been derailed with her stroke in 1970. If anything, she showed the kind of resolve that allowed her to overcome this and all other obstacles life threw at her and live life to fullest.
Convinced to run for a local pageant (Miss Vacationland Scholarship pageant, which she worked to reinstate in 2010 to give other young women a chance at scholarships, but I digress), Jackie was on the way to the Miss Ohio title and ultimately the national title. From there, she finished her schooling at the University of Pittsburgh while managing the Rising Wind Farm.
Seven years later, in 1970, Jackie suffered a life-threatening stroke; however, after going through rehab, she became a spokesperson for stroke survivors and their rehabilitation. Since 1977, she has traversed the country, making speeches and presentations of “From Trauma to Triumph” and “A Different Kind of Beauty.” Through it all, she has become a stroke survivor advocate, sitting on various boards (National Stroke Association, American Heart/Stroke, Advisory Council of National Institute of Neurological Disorders) and serving as a motivational speaker. She has made appearances on numerous local and national television and radio programs including Good Morning America, Geraldo, Maury Povitch, and The Phil Donahue Show. She was featured in the television special, Miss America: Beyond the Crown, discussing life as a stroke survivor. Further, she has been featured in national newspapers and magazines such as Family Circle, People, USA Today, MORE Magazine, and TV Guide, and has even graced the cover of Guideposts, Caregiver, and StrokeSmart.
Beyond this, Jackie has held positions as office manager, marketing manager, and rehab consultant to name a few of the jobs she has held over the years. She also spends much of her time as a volunteer. She has served on various boards such as The Huron Playhouse board and Friends of Michael’s House. She continues to act and has been seen in local theatres around the state. She has been a pageant judge in both state and national pageants, too.
Still going strong, Jackie has now turned her attention to her Not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization Celebrate America Productions in which she hopes to raise funds for local charities. The inaugural program, , will be held in her home town of Sandusky, Ohio and will feature her and eight of her Miss A. Sisters. From there, she plans on taking it on the road to other towns and cities across the United States.
Jackie Mayer has spent a lifetime of service to causes she believes in. Over the years she has been honored with awards including having a highway dedicated to her. She is also the mother to two children and the grandmother to five.
Tonight, October 3, 2015, is the show at the Sandusky State Theatre; it is not too late to buy tickets either online or at the box office. Donations gratefully accepted too.