On April 26, 2003, at the age of 17, I was injured in a car accident and sustained a spinal cord injury. My C6 vertebra was shattered, and my C2 was also damaged. After 2 weeks in ICU, a major surgery and a halo brace later, I was transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver for rehab.
I spent most of my time at Craig learning how to live life using a wheelchair. Bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning, driving. It was all new again, and it took time and a lot of exhausted muscles to learn.
I returned home in August, and after a few months of figuring out exactly what an injury like this meant for me, I bought an accessible van and spent the next few months becoming comfortable driving. I enrolled in Washburn University a few months later and started college the next fall.
I graduated college in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media. I stumbled upon a temporary job a few months later, which quickly became a full-time job at Innovia Films, Inc. I have been promoted twice since and love the people I work with everyday. I also started a small photography business around that time.
In 2011, I began dating Greg, who would become my husband a year and a half later. We moved to the country, and we just welcomed our first daughter, Reagan, last June.
When I was asked to participate in Ms Wheelchair Kansas 4 or 5 years ago, I thought I was too busy. I thought I would never have time to fit something like this into my schedule. Now I realize I was wrong. I have had the busiest year of my life this year, mostly with becoming a mom, and I am so happy that I finally decided to go for it.
As Miss Wheelchair Kansas, I feel it is important to spread the message that someone with a disability is not so different from everyone else. They are accomplished and productive and happy individuals, set apart only by their use of a wheelchair. During my reign, I plan to speak to children and adults alike to allow them to become familiar with disabilities and the incorrect stigmas that surround them.