When I discovered Ms Wheelchair North Carolina program I was at a very trying time in my life. I was in my sophomore year of college, had already changed my major three times, and was mentally struggling really bad for the first time since my accident. I was having a hard time finding my spot within my friend groups, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I was homesick, and not physically healthy either. I was a full time student and also spoke at local churches and schools. I thought nothing more of it other than sharing my testimony and showing my love for Jesus. I clicked the button and submitted my application to Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina pageant. I was a pageant queen all throughout my childhood, so I was excited/nervous/anxious about attending a “pageant” as a wheelchair user. The only thing that settled my mind was we would all be in wheelchairs, CRAZY! I’m from a small town on the Outer Banks of North Carolina called Manns Harbor, I’m probably one of maybe ten people in a wheelchair in our county so I’m not used to socializing with other wheelchair users at all. Fast forward to the biggest stepping stone in my life. After an amazing weekend mingling with the other contestants, their companions and board members I was crowned Ms.Wheelchair North Carolina 2019.
Being crowned gave me a boost, an idea of my future and a platform to start off of. After I was crowned it took me a bit to get used to the responsibility, the life and all within but the experience was more than rewarding. This past year and a half has opened so many doors and opportunities that I never would have if it wasn’t for the program. I spent a couple months speaking, attending parades, festivals and preparing for the most significant week in my life. July came and my Momma and I drove a whole seventeen hours to Grand Rapids, Michigan to compete for Ms. Wheelchair America. The drive there was a beautiful whirlwind. When we arrived at two in the morning, I was stunned by the hotel. Small Harbor girl rolls into the Amway and I was instantly overwhelmed with beauty and no longer tired from my seventeen hour drive. I could write a book about my week at Ms. Wheelchair America, but for now I will say that it was the most eye-opening experience in my life to date. I wasn’t crowned Ms. Wheelchair America but I won. I won amazing sisters and a ton of information to bring back to advocate within my state. Most importantly I found myself. I realized that I love my life the way it is, in a wheelchair. I instantly didn’t worry about not walking again but pushed even harder to recover from a spinal cord injury. I learned so much from the other contestants, the volunteers, and the speakers we had throughout the week. I left Michigan more than grateful for my body, my life and everything in it than ever. I learned that life is way too short not to be yourself and to not enjoy what we’ve been given.
Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2019