A Crown and a Cause: Miss Virginia City Visits Renown Children’s Hospital

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Miss Virginia City
Nasya Mancini, Miss Virginia City (center), from one of her visits to Renown Children's Hospital. She is shown with Jennifer Nunzir, Child Life Specialist (left), and Louis Murray, Certified Nursing Assistant.

The current Miss Virginia City, taking a quick break from traveling to New Jersey to support Miss Nevada in the Miss America pageant, explains her passion for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, for visiting Renown — and for helping children in their greatest time of need. 

Nasya Mancini says her first name is Hebrew for “miracle.” 

“And I truly live up to that name,” she says, explaining for those curious about how to pronounce the unique name that it rhymes with “messiah.” “I was given a 10 percent chance to live at birth, and I obviously beat those odds.” 

The current Miss Virginia City was only 1 pound, 4 ounces at birth. She and her twin sister were born to their mother, a drug user, at 23 weeks — while her adoptive parents stood by waiting, watching and hoping. Both girls were supposed to go home with the adoptive parents, but sadly, Nasya’s identical twin was born breach with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. 

“She lived for three days,” Nasya recounts. “My parents named her Sequoia, which means ‘strength.’ And it’s pretty amazing that they chose my name without knowing what would become of me. Here I am, and I’m perfectly fine — I have no medical issues at all.”

This is further astounding considering she had heart surgery right after birth. She says her parents benefited from resources provided by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at the time. 

 

From NICU Baby to Children’s Miracle Network Advocate

In part due to her own backstory, Nasya has been visiting Renown Children’s Hospital — northern Nevada’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital — since 2011; then, she was part of TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada and would visit hospitalized children in the characters she was then performing for the theater troupe — Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web, Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to name a few. 

“We would go into the ward, talk to the kids and their parents, and you could tell it would just brighten their days,” she recalls. “Because of my own experience in the hospital when I was a newborn, it really touched me to be able to do that.” 

Then in 2013, Nasya won the title of Miss Sparks Outstanding Teen, which she says allowed her even more time to devote to her cause. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is the national platform for Miss America, meaning Nasya is able to visit Renown routinely, reading to kids, visiting with them and sharing her own story. 

“If I go into these rooms wearing my crown or a costume, you can just see that you’re taking the kids’ minds or their parents’ minds off of their situation for just a few minutes. And that means everything.” 

She remembers visiting a 14-year-old boy just a few weeks ago. 

“I had brought in stuffed animals and arts and crafts, and this older boy and I struck up a conversation,” she recalls. “He was talking about how grateful he is for the Children’s Miracle Network. We talked for about 20 minutes. It really touched me, because he’s so much older, and yet he really opened up. That will stay with me for a long time.” 

Miss Virginia City Today, Miss America Hopeful in the Future

When she’s not giving back to her community, Nasya is pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in journalism — she wants to be a TV news anchor — and working hard every day to advance in the Miss America pageant world. 

She earned 2nd Runner Up to Miss Nevada 2018. In addition, she was awarded the Miss America Community Service Award, Miss Impact Award, CMN Award and Miss Photogenic Award.

“Nevada is my home — it’s where I grew up,” she says. “If I’m fortunate enough to compete for Miss America, I will proudly represent my home state.”

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