UPDATE: After finishing at the top in her category in the fourth round, Lisa made it through to the quarter finals, where the competition got tougher. She placed 6th in the quarter finals, eliminating her from the contest. Her supporters, though, helped her raise $2500 for the B+ Foundation for childhood cancer.
While leafing through a copy of Jetset Magazine, Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Lisa Jeffrey stumbled upon a promotion for a contest to appear on the cover of the publication. The prospect of being featured in the exclusive quarterly appealed to her, but the selling point was really the chance to help a children’s charity through her entry.
“I went online and began to look into it,” Jeffrey, the owner of a small business, says, “and I learned a little about the Be Positive (B+) Foundation, a charity for kids’ cancer. They help with financial assistance to families and for research. I wanted to do something to help out, so I entered it.”
The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation honours the memory of the 14-year-old Wilmington, Delaware boy who battled leukemia, septic shock and complications of childhood cancer for more than five months before passing away in 2007. Andrew’s B+ blood type became his family’s and friends’ motto throughout his fight against childhood cancer – to “Be Positive”.
Since its inception, the foundation has become the largest provider of financial assistance to families of kids with cancer in the United States. As part of the magazine’s contest, a free vote can be placed daily, but additional votes can be purchased for a dollar, with a portion of the proceeds going to the B+ Foundation.
Jeffrey is competing with women from all over the world for a chance to grace the cover, appear in a pictorial inside the magazine, and to take home $50,000. Last year millions of votes were cast in the contest, before US Navy officer and California native Janeilla Burns was chosen as the winner.
Since the contest began Jan. 5, Jeffrey has captured first place in her group through the first three rounds. In the current and last of the opening rounds, only the leader in her group will move on to the quarter-finals, which will be announced on Feb. 5. At press time, she was still holding onto the top spot.
“I’ve been number one (in her group) since day two of the contest,” she says. “The support that I have had has been from people in the community that know me, knowing that it’s a good cause, and knowing what I stand for, wanting to help wherever I can.”
That desire to help out has been a constant in Jeffrey’s life, instilled in her by her parents while growing up on Anne Street. After graduating from Niagara District Secondary School, she enrolled in the EMT program at Niagara University, and followed that up with the Advanced Care Paramedic program at Baker College, just outside of Detroit.
While in Detroit in September, 2001, to write her final exam, the Canada-U.S. border was closed following the 9/11 tragedy. Fresh out of paramedic school, Jeffrey decided to make her way to New York City to offer her services as a volunteer at Ground Zero. She was one of the first Canadians on site.
“They were calling for EMT and medical help, so I went down there,” remembers Jeffrey. “They sent me on 911 calls for the city of New York, they had me working 16 hours a day. It was before FEMA had set their feet down there. The first IV I ever started was there, on a police officer who had collapsed from exhaustion.”
Over the course of 10 days, Jeffrey offered her support to the crews working through the rubble. The experience stays with her today, and despite the devastation, she is able to reflect in a positive way.
“Tragedies bring people together,” she says. “I really saw the best of the people in New York City. They were so appreciative, no matter who was coming to help them. There were people from all over. The spirit of New York City was just amazing.”
Another tragedy closer to home has affected Jeffrey recently. For the past five months she has been helping out her mother, Glenda, who cracked her skull after a fall on Thanksgiving weekend. She needed emergency brain surgery to relieve the bleeding, and was in a coma until just after Christmas.
“It’s been a really tough few months,” she says. “With COVID, our family has only been able to see her one at a time. She still has a long road to go, but she’s out of the coma and stable. My father goes every day. They just celebrated 54 years of marriage in June.”
Understandably, her mother’s struggle has also changed Jeffrey’s outlook on life. “I believe life is very fragile, and each and every day is a gift we must embrace,” she says in her profile on the magazine’s website. “My faith gets me through all the storms of life.”
If she ends up on the cover of Jetset Magazine, the cat-lover vows to use some of her winnings to help save an endangered species. She plans to travel to Namibia to help with the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a research and lobby institution involved in the study and preservation of the country’s cheetah population. She says she would also invest her winnings in helping others in need to make a difference in the world.
The winner of the Miss Jetset Magazine contest will be announced on Feb. 25. Voting for the current round ends at 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4. To vote for Lisa Jeffrey, visit https://miss.jetsetmag.com/2021/lisa-jeffrey