Canadian beauty queen Ma ready for an exciting future (2)

09:49, May 07, 2010      

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"I first started when I was 17 and entered Miss Chinese Toronto. My mom actually encouraged me because she thought it was good for me to gain more self confidence and practice talking to different people."

Following in the footsteps of her mother, Dr Sherry X. Yin, Ma has used her singing talents at fundraisers for various Chinese disasters, among others, as well as working for the Chi Hung Foundation which helps kids affected by AIDS in poverty-stricken areas of China. "It really helps them get a better education and rebuild their families".

One of her latest causes to support is the Other Half - Chinese Stem Cell Initiative, a donor program that could help patients suffering from leukemia.

"There is quite a lack of Chinese donors in the stem cell registry and I really want to encourage people to become donors and sign up. In comparison, people of Chinese origins versus Caucasians there is a much lower chance of finding a donor," Ma said.

"I would say most cases (of leukemia) are treatable. It's just a matter of finding a donor within the allotted time. We could save a lot of lives if just a lot of people would register."

With two degrees in her possession, one for music and the other in life sciences, Ma said she is currently looking for a job after being a student all her life. Her master plan includes working for a year and then maybe doing a masters degree in either occupational therapy or physiotherapy.

"In the beginning it's quite difficult (to come to Canada). For any new immigrant family the first few years are challenging. I saw the hardships that my parents had to overcome. It's been a long journey but I am happy to say that we worked hard to be where we are today."

With the world now at her feet, Ma adds the past year has been a blast, but the experience hadn't changed her.

"I wouldn't say so. Most of my close friends they know that I wouldn't change no matter how many different competitions I entered or different things I have seen, I don't think I've changed."

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