By Lauren Vargas
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (KNXV/CNN) - Dozens of young women are preparing for the Miss Arizona USA pageant next month, and, while most are fighting for the crown, one woman is also fighting for her life.
The gown, the shoes, a beautiful headscarf. It's an escape from reality for Kristina Anderson, who is originally from Atwood, Ill.
"I'm trying to find unique ways to have pretty head wraps," said Kristina. "Miss Arizona USA pageant's a little different from the county fair pageants I'm used to."
This November, she's after the title of Miss Arizona USA.
"I probably looked for like 40 hours while I was doing chemo," she said of her dress.
In July, Kristina's doctor gave her the most unexpected, scariest news of her life. Diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of ovarian cancer, Kristina started chemo just three days later.
With her family still in Illinois, the 25-year-old found her support system in an unexpected place.
"Kristina was actually a patient in our office," said nurse Sandy LaDuke.
Sandy is helping Kristina focus on the pageant, when all else seems grim.
"I'm just kind of along for the ride, you know, I just, went with her to pick out some dresses and things," said Sandy.
Kristina still has a long way to go, but is hoping her journey to Miss Arizona, will inspire others to keep fighting too.
"Just be positive and be grateful for what you have," said Kristina.
If cancer and a pageant weren't enough to think about, Kristina is now struggling to pay for treatments. KNX-TV reports her insurance has denied her coverage for the last six months of treatment.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Kristina pay for some of those medical bills. Her friends and family have also created a Facebook page listing other ways to donate.