Woman will be first with Down syndrome to compete in Miss Minnesota USA Pageant

She applied and got accepted, saying: "And that is all I wanted ... to be accepted."
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Mikayla Holmgren applied to the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant, and was accepted.

The 22-year-old dancer and Bethel University student says she applied not knowing if she'd be given the chance to compete, "That is all I wanted ... to be accepted," she wrote on a GoFundMe page.

Holmgren has Down syndrome. In November, she'll become the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the state pageant – and she's believed to be the first in the country to compete in a Miss USA state pageant as well, the Star Tribune says.

She's now raising money to help fund some of the unexpected costs associated with competing in the pageant, writing on the GoFundMe page: "I want the world to know that Down syndrome does not define me. With your help, I can help break through walls."

Holmgren, who was born more than six weeks early, began dancing at a young age after her parents read about the benefits of dancing for kids with special needs, according to a Facebook post. Her passion for dance has earned her awards, and now she choreographs her own dance solos.

She's also a gymnast and won the Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing pageant in 2015, FOX 9 reports.

"We’ve had a 22-year front-row seat to what special needs are. And I think as a parent, you go in knowing nothing about it," Craig Holmgren, Mikayla’s father, told FOX 9. "And to see the struggles and the things she’s been able to accomplish and overcome has taught us a lot about kids with special needs, the heart and the spirit they have."

The Miss Minnesota USA Pageant begins Nov. 25 at the Ames Center in Burnsville. The woman who becomes Miss Minnesota USA will go on to compete in the Miss USA Pageant.

It's also the same pageant Halima Aden competed in. She became the first woman to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant wearing a hijab and burkini.

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