Drew Foster, 11, of Flint, was brought onstage along with his parents, Chad and Angela, and recognized as a special person who has touched many lives. He spoke onstage with Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund, also a former Miss Michigan, whom he has known for several years.
He was also greeted with several thousand happy-birthday messages when it was announced onstage that he celebrated turning 11 on Tuesday.
Drew was born with two rare disorders — Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone disorder and Neurocutaneous Hypermelanosis, a disorder that affects the central nervous system and causes massive amounts of birthmarks all over the body.
He has broken or fractured more than 50 bones in his young life.
The Fosters' trip to Las Vegas was sponsored by the Miss Michigan Scholarship Organization. They arrived Wednesday afternoon and are set to return to Flint Sunday after the Miss America Pageant concludes Saturday night.
The 11-year-old met Miss Michigan Katie LaRoche, who is currently competing at Miss America, at the Miss Michigan Pageant in June.
"I am excited, but a little bit nervous," Drew said just a few hours before going onstage. "I think (LaRoche) is going to do pretty good," he said of Miss Michigan's chances for the Miss America crown.
"I think she has a really good chance, mostly because she's fun and entertaining."
Drew has been treated at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, which is part of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals — a partner of the Miss America Pageant.
Having personally experienced the benefits of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Angela said she's happy to see the organization partner with the Miss America Pageant.
"It's such an opportunity to spread the world. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals are so crucial and important to communities and I know how grateful we are to have Hurley in Flint."
"It brings (Children's Miracle Network Hospitals) to a higher platform," Chad added, "raising money through the Miss America pageant."
Drew has held several fundraisers of his own over the past three years and has raised more than $11,000.
"No one really understands until they're in that position. We just really try to get people to stop and think for a minute. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals are one of those things you can't really appreciate until the time comes when you or someone in your family needs it.
"You have no idea what a blessing those hospitals are until you're in that situation."
Watch the video below to see Drew being recognized at the Miss America Pageant: