Arma Shahidi-Fitzgerald captured the title of Mrs. International® at the 22nd annual pageant at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Illinois. Her loving husband, Lee, was honored to crown his wife at the end of the competition featuring 48 of the worlds most beautiful and accomplished women. The title of Mrs. International® is very special to Arma and her family. Her mother, Soodabeh is a past Ms. Iran. This is truly an international event that will be remembered and cherished by Arma.
Arma is a proud Iranian by birth and an American citizen by choice. She moved to the United States ten years ago. She has lived her life as a testament to her beliefs. She states, “I promised to be the voice for every woman whose voice has been silenced and make the most of every opportunity in my life in behalf of every woman whose chances have been taken away.”
She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Communication Design from the University of North Texas. Arma is an accomplished artist with over 30 Fine Art exhibitions internationally. She currently owns Armaiti Design Studio, a boutique graphic design and photography studio, in Plano, Texas.
Arma is the founder of the Fight Oral Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to raise awareness about oral cancer internationally and save a life every hour of every day. The inspiration for her foundation was the loss of a very dear friend, Susan, to Oral Cancer. Also, her parent’s guidance to make a difference and give back to the community played a pivotal role. Through her foundation and the power of the crown, Arma will continue to devote her life to this international cause.
Oral Cancer has been under the radar of many cancer organizations and the public. No one has taken the lead in educating the public about the deadly nature of Oral Cancer. Cancer of the mouth and throat are both considered Oral Cancers. In some circles larynx cancer is included as well. Internationally Oral Cancer affects approximately 500,000 people. In the U.S. it is estimated that 35,000 people will be diagnosed with Oral Cancer this year and over 8,000 people will die in the United States alone. One person dies every hour of every day from Oral Cancer. By the time a person is diagnosed their expected survival is only 50% within 5 years. The key to survival is early treatment and early detection. This is a silent killer without a cure that occurs without signs or symptoms in its early stages. Oral cancer is considered one of the most feared cancers because it is typically caught too late to make a difference. Oral Cancer is disfiguring and it is one of the few cancers that are on the rise. The rise in Oral Cancer in the U.S is due to the prevalence of HPV and its effect on our youth. The rates of Oral Cancer are expected to only increase.
Arma is the spokes person for the Fight Oral Cancer Foundation. Through her efforts, the State of Texas has issued a proclamation naming the month of May as “Fight Oral Cancer month.” Her city of Plano has followed by also naming May the “Fight Oral Cancer month.” Arma and her husband, Lee, who is a Dentist hold free Oral Cancer screenings in their community. She also speaks regularly at public and private events in her community to raise awareness about this cancer. Arma has partnered with Nieman Marcus and others to promote her cause. She uses the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to spread her message worldwide. She utilizes her website FightOralCancer.org as her connection to the world.
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