From the outside looking in, no one would suspect that 3-year-old Charlee Sanders has a disease.

What people do not see is her parents trying to steer her away from sick relatives and friends, and Charlee having to take medicine before every meal in order to be able to eat.

“To look at Charlee, you wouldn’t know she had cystic fibrosis,” said her mother, Kelly Sanders. 

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects all of the mucus-producing organs in the body, particularly hindering the digestive and respiratory systems.

Sanders gave two examples to show how Charlee’s life differs from others.

If a normal child gets a cold that takes four days to get over, it takes Charlee two weeks.

Additionally, her pancreas doesn’t produce enzymes that break down her food, causing her to have to take medicine each time she eats.

However, the disease doesn’t slow Charlee down. She plays softball, goes to school and is always cheerful, Sanders said.

While she is “definitely on the smaller side” for her age, she takes everything in stride.

“She’s educated all of us on this,” Sanders said about her daughter. “You just go day-to-day and deal with what you have.”

Sanders, who is a nurse at Floyd Medical Center, has been looking into doing a fundraiser for a long time now to help benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s goal of curing cystic fibrosis.

She believes she has found one.

A womanless beauty pageant will be held on May 7 at 7 p.m. in North­side Church, with all proceeds going to the CFF, Sanders said.

The inaugural pageant is called “Fancy Physicians Pageant,” according to the pageant’s website.

Several local, male physicians and medical staff will be the contestants in the pageant, Sanders said.

She got the idea to do a womanless pageant after going to one in Newnan and finding it hilarious and entertaining.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12, Sanders added.

There will be three pageant winners: a popular vote winner, judges’ favorite, and Charlee’s choice.

Each contestant will raise money during the event, and whichever contestant has collected the most money at the end of the night will be declared the popular vote winner, Sanders continued.

Tickets for the pageant can be purchased online at

The family had raised $430 of the $5,000 goal they have set, as of last week.


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