A 26-year-old Soldotna woman was crowned Mrs. Alaska last weekend.
This July she’ll head to Vegas to compete for the Mrs. United States competition; but for Erica Chilla, it’s not about the tiara…
Chilla: “I think that sometimes we take the little things for granted. When you have a baby and they walk, you think, ‘Oh that’s so wonderful, look at them, they’re walking!’ It took months of physical therapy for my son to even begin to roll over again.”
Chilla’s second son, Ace, is now 18 months old and living with Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). For the past year, they’ve seen tumors growing in his eyes, his heart and his brain. Chilla says they’ll spread to all his major organs as he grows.
Chilla: “We still don’t have any answers. We don’t know what his life expectancy is. And that’s why I decided to go for the title of Mrs. Alaska. So that I can promote awareness for this disease, because it’s so unknown and under-researched, we don’t know if there’s ever going to be a cure, if there’s ever going to be a better way of life for him.”
Chilla says the Mrs. Alaska entrants worked together like friends last Saturday, helping out with last-minute coaching and touch ups. The most nerve-wracking part? The on stage questions. She was asked about challenges in parenting…
Chilla: “I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I did walk away with the crown, so it must have been okay.”