CUYAHOGA FALLS — The competition for Ms. Wheelchair USA is set for this weekend as 10 women compete for the crown in Cuyahoga Falls.
"Obviously the crown, that’s the glamour that’s the pageant piece of it," said Lowery Lockard, CEO & Founder Ms. Wheelchair USA & The Dane Foundation. "But that crown is certainly just a representation of everything that these ladies accomplish."
"I’m an adaptive clothing designer and the founder of alter your ego, adaptable jeans for men and women in wheelchairs," said Heidi McKenzie of Kentucky as she practiced her introduction during rehearsals Friday afternoon.
The pageant started as a state competition more than 20 years ago when it was Ms. Wheelchair Ohio, but it has since grown to the national level.
Its mission: to inspire.
"Whenever asked if I would take back that fateful backflip, that altered my life so drastically, it is hard to say that I would, said Tara Blackwell, Ms. Wheelchair Florida. "It brought out of me an infinite amount of strength, compassion and the ability to change the lives of others."
"This is a platform for information, inspiration and for opportunities. And to meet other women with disabilities," said Lockard."They all have stories and add something different to table and something different to offer."