NAMPA -- Mrs. Idaho America 2009, Jamie Hilton, is out the hospital and recovering after a serious accident this summer. She suffered a severe brain injury when she fell during a fishing trip in Hell's Canyon. Doctors removed part of her skull to let her brain swell. She woke up from surgery with 2/3 of her head shaved, and a piece of her skull in her abdomen.
"It was a major accident and I was thankful to be alive. I wasn't worried so much about my hair," Jamie Hilton told KTVB in her first local interview since the accident.
Laying in the hospital, Hilton started to realize her medical bills were mounting.
"I knew I had had this major surgery, I knew that every minute I was sitting in that hospital bed the financial clock was ticking," said said.
The Hilton family is left with more than $100,000 in medical bills and no insurance.
Friend and fellow Mrs. Idaho, Lauralyn Salinas was by her side from the start.
"It was hard to see her like that," said Salinas. "I felt sorry for her and I wished I could trade places with her."
That's when Lauralyn got an idea.
"Maybe if a bunch of us shaved our heads just like Jamie that we might be able to raise enough money for her," Salinas said.
The "us" she was referring to is a group of beauty queens: Juliet Tietjen, Mrs. Idaho 2005; Elizabeth Amar Mrs. Idaho 2006; herself, Mrs. Idaho 2007; and Jackie Walker-Wintz, Mrs. Idaho 2008.
If they raise enough money to pay off Hilton's medical bills, the group of former Mrs. Idahos will shave their heads on The Doctors on Newschannel 7. Salinas said not one person hesitated because Jamie would do the same for them.
"We'll get some looks but you know what, it's hair. It will grow back. And we're so grateful for Jamie to be here that my hair really means nothing compared to Jamie still being with us," said Salinas.
They all hope this will show there's more to these beauty queens than just they way they look because beauty is more than skin deep.
"When this accident happened, it definitely made me look in the mirror, literally and figuratively, to really see what I thought of myself," said Hilton. "How much weight did I put on my physical beauty? Did i have some inner beauty? And my parents have raised me right. I've known that beauty comes from the inside. I do care about my physical appearance, and of course we always want to look our best. But definitely I know there's a beauty that radiates from the inside that you can't put makeup on, or curl your hair a certain way to bring that radiating beauty out."
Folks have raised just over $12,000 since the accident. The goal is to raise a total of $125,000 by the new year.
Jamie Hilton and her husband will be on the Doctors on Newschannel 7 Monday at 2:00 p.m.