UNCASVILLE, CT (WFSB) -- For the first time ever, the Miss America pageant is being held right here in Connecticut.
The preliminaries for the event kicked off Sunday at Mohegan Sun, with Burlington’s own Miss Connecticut Jillian Duffy competing.
“I feel so excited. I performed my talent last night and I couldn’t have asked for anything to be better,” Duffy said.
She sang Sunday night during the talent competition.
While she’s danced most of her competitive life, at 13, Jillian was diagnosed with leukemia. The cancer made her bones brittle.
Now at 22 years old, Miss Connecticut has been competing actively since she was 8.
On Monday night, she’ll deliver her social impact initiative about her nine-year fight to beat cancer, even suffering a stroke midway through the fight.
Also, just two days ago, she was determined to be cancer free.
“It’s just an amazing feeling. I’ve truly come full circle and now being an ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network is a dream come true, and I’m walking across the Miss America stage so I could not ask for anything else,” Duffy said.
Mohegan Sun is buzzing with Miss America activity, and there’s even a store in the exhibition center.
Guests have arrived from all over the country, but the best thing for Miss Connecticut, while it may have seemed like a lifetime to took get to this moment, it was a short drive.
“I didn’t have to worry about how heavy my suitcases were or anything being under 3 ounces. So that was really nice and my whole family gets to come and attend,” Duffy said.