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With sick mother cheering, Fayetteville native aspires to win Miss USA

Posted June 1
Updated August 23

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— Cordelia Barber isn't a typical pageant mother. While her daughter is fighting this week to become Miss USA, Barber will stay behind in Fayetteville, where she has battled lung cancer for the past two years.

The disease has left Barber too sick to travel to Las Vegas to cheer on her daughter, Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber, but that's not stopping her from sending inspiration.

“When she was born her nickname ‘Tweety’ came quickly,” Cordelia Barber said. “When I looked at her face, I called her ‘Tweety.’ She had a nickname before she had a real name.”

Deshauna Barber grew up in Fayetteville and is a Captain in the Army, commander of the 988th quarter detachment at Fort Meade in Maryland.

The Barber family – both parents and three children – served in the military.

“All of my children are doing well, they really are,” Cordelia Barber said. “As a mother, I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.”

While the family is pulling for Deshauna Barber to win the title, her older sister says it's OK if she doesn't.

“How many people can say a sibling – my sister – my blood sister that I’ve lived in the house with, that we fought, actually made it to Miss USA,” Dariona Sneed.

Codelia Barber said she feels the same way, that her daughter is already a winner, regardless of the pageant outcome.

“Tweety, you know what’s important,” she said. “What’s important is to be happy and have fun, and I love you.”

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