When Sandra Zacharias underwent a bilateral mastectomy after a breast cancer diagnosis in 2010, she searched for an activity that would boost her confidence.
“I had a lymph node removal, chemotherapy, radiation, reconstruction and am still on oral chemo,” Zacharias, 49, said.
Desiring a challenge, she entered the Mrs. Indiana America 2013 competition, held in Naperville, Ill.
“I have never been involved in pageants, but my daughter is in the Teen Indiana USA every year,” she said.
Zacharias competed in May, with costume, swim suit, evening gown and interview components, and was eventually crowned Mrs. Indiana 2013.
The title enables her to represent the state of Indiana while performing charitable work.
“I competed with many beautiful married women, and the event pushed me to work out and created confidence,” she said.
“The experience taught me to set goals, and not stop, and keep setting new goals,” she added.
A 1987 psychology graduate of Loyola University, Zacharias is now vice president at Trustmark Recovery Services in Munster.
She is a member of Congregation Beth Israel in Munster and enjoys swimming, hiking and studying ballet.
A Dyer resident, she is the wife of Joseph Zacharias and mother to daughters Samantha and Shoshana.