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May 21, 2022

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Pageant-winning Desert Oasis librarian campaigns for cancer research

Mrs. Nevada International

Provided by WKPR Chicago

Kari Deike, a librarian at Desert Oasis High School, won the Mrs. Nevada International crown this summer. She will represent the state at the Mrs. International pageant in Chicago next July.

Mrs. Nevada International Kari Deike admits she's been a little shy about enjoying her reign, which began after she won the state pageant this summer. Once in a while, a friend at Desert Oasis High School, where she works as a librarian, asks Deike to wave and she said she obliges.

Starting next Wednesday, though, Deike will throw the weight of her crown behind the American Cancer Society and its Relay for Life fundraiser. It will be her second year working on the event, but her first with the title, which she earned this past summer in July at the Mrs. Nevada International pageant at the Nicholas Horn Theatre at the College of Southern Nevada.

Shortly before she earned the crown, Deike lost her stepmother to cancer.

"I knew that this would be what I would do," she said. Last year, the relay raised $45,000 for cancer research. "It seemed to fit."

Fundraising begins at a special pep rally next week at Desert Oasis, whose students will do the walking. The relay will follow in May. A couple of months later, Deike will represent Nevada at the 23rd Mrs. International Pageant in Chicago on July 22 and 23.

Deike, 44 and mother of four, grew up in Chicago but came to Nevada 22 years ago to study at UNLV. She has been the librarian at Desert Oasis for three years.

She had never stepped foot in a beauty pageant until three years ago, she said.

At the competition, she said she saw a chance to promote her favorite charities and escape from some of the stress of running a family. There is no skills section during Mrs. International pageants, open to married women and mothers, presumably because "balancing marriage and a family is our talent," Deike said with a chuckle.

"You get kind of wrapped in the day-to-day," she said. "We get to feel pretty again. I think we forget that part of ourselves sometimes."

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