Miss USA returns home, promotes charity

Photo by J. Patrick Pepper

Photo by J. Patrick Pepper

Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih speaks at a breast cancer fundraiser in Birmingham on Friday. Fakih, a Dearborn native, was back in metropolitan Detroit for the first time since winning the title May 17.

Times-Herald Newspapers

BIRMINGHAM — Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih last week made her first extended visit back to the area for a series of benefits, appearances and interviews.

At the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center on Friday, the Dearborn native was all smiles and pageant waves as she served as the guest of honor for a meet-and-greet breakfast with supporters of the breast cancer charity, The Pink Fund.

The Pink Fund is one of Fakih’s primary advocacies and its mission is to provide short-term financial aid to women and men who are in active treatment for and recovery from breast cancer. Speaking to the attendees, the charity’s director, Molly McDonald, explained how Fakih became involved with the group.

When Fakih moved to Dearborn, her family “experienced a number of financial hardships, one of which included her mother’s cancer diagnosis,” McDonald said.

“Her mother’s uninsured status made it very difficult for her to receive the necessary treatment for her recovery,” McDonald continued, “and Rima immediately grasped the necessity of a fund like The Pink Fund during such a time of crisis.”

Donning sash, gown and crown, Fakih nodded in agreement.

“I wanted to pick a charity that did something different and The Pink Fund is unique in the type of assistance it provides,” Fakih said later. “This (assistance) is the type of stuff that doesn’t always come to the front of people’s minds when they think about donating, but it is definitely a necessity.”

But Fakih, 24, wasn’t there only to support the charity – she was there to thank supporters and fill them in on what she’s been up to since being crowned Miss USA on May 16.

“It’s been crazy,” Fakih said. “I’ve been to China, Rwanda, my new place in New York – and it’s like everywhere I go it’s, ‘You’re not Rima Fakih, you are Miss USA.’ I’m still trying to get used to that.”

After her address and a few media interviews, it was a quick breakfast and then off to prepare for a gala that evening at The Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit to benefit The Pink Fund. It followed a series of events Thursday at the Detroit Medical Center held to honor Fakih, a former DMC employee.

On Saturday, Fakih was scheduled for her first public appearance since winning the title in Dearborn, where she has lived since she was 17. The event, at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, happened after press time, but Fakih was expected to be presented with a key to the city, meet fans and give a speech directed at young people.