Green Valley High School senior Veronica loves modeling and participating in beauty pageants – she earned the Miss Nevada Junior Teen Cover Girl title in 2015.
A budding photographer, she says her dream job would be to travel the world and take photographs for National Geographic.
In April 2016, then 16-year-old Veronica began to fall asleep in class, a behavior contrast to her personality. A trip to her physician revealed a stunning diagnosis: lupus with mixed connective tissue disease. Lupus alone causes systemic inflammation affecting the skin and joints, it can affect other organs in the body such as the kidneys, the tissue lining the lungs, heart, and brain. Veronica suffers from vision deterioration and headaches with blood pressure irregularities affecting her ability to walk. For several months, she could not use staircases for fear of passing out or losing control of her legs. She lost all of her hair in the span of two short weeks, necessitating this pageant winner to now wear wigs. Undeterred, Veronica maintains her pageant schedule and academic excellence with resilience and poise.
One of her school projects was to complete extensive research on a country of her choice. Inspired by her globetrotting grandparents, she selected Italy and became intrigued with Italian architecture, culture, and history. When her volunteer wish granters April and Gina paid her a visit for the first time, Veronica could hardly wait to tell them she had already mapped out the perfect wish…to go on a tour of Italy!
Maggiano’s in Downtown Summerlin revealed this special teen’s wish at their 2016 grand opening, even naming a private dining room after Veronica! She cut the ribbon—fittingly a huge strand of pasta!—and people strategically placed in the crowd held up signs announcing her wish to visit Italy will be coming true. Veronica, her brother, and parents will explore Rome and Venice this month! Thanks to an extremely generous donation from our friends at Maggiano’s, soon Veronica will say “arrivederci, Las Vegas” and “ciao, Italy”!
Stay tuned to our social media accounts for Veronica’s undoubtedly amazing photography.