FAQs about Ms. Wheelchair Illinois 2014

Since I’m fairly new to writing on patch.com I figured I would do a Frequently Asked Questions about none other than me!

How old am I and do I have any siblings?

I am 27-years-old and I have three younger sisters, Katie, Nora, and Abby.

What were some of my favorite hobbies growing up?

I absolutely loved playing the violin.  I started when I was eight years old (in 4th grade) and continued throughout high school.  Once I started college I played just for personal gratification and not part of a group anymore.

I started playing wheelchair basketball as a freshman in high school and this is a sport that I still continue to play.  My job on the court has changed over the years, sometimes by not even playing but taking on a coaching role.  No matter where I ranked, I loved every minute. 

Who are my favorite cartoon characters?

Snoopy and Woodstock, hands down!

Why is the word “Tooth” in the name of my disorder?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth was named after the three doctors who discovered it.  The disease does not affect a person’s teeth at all actually. 

Charcot-Marie-Tooth basically causes loss of muscle tissue/muscle mass as the nerves die away.  This can also lead to increased or decreased pain sensation.  It mostly affects the calves and feet, but CMT is known to affect the forearms and hands as well.  Not only that, but hearing and vision can change, curvature of the spine can develop, and symptoms in other organs as well.

A wheelchair pageant?  Really?

Yes.  I competed in a wheelchair pageant.  This isn’t like your normal Ms. Illinois pageant with the bathing suit competition and talent competition.  The Ms. Wheelchair America pageant is based on “advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for persons with disabilities” (www.mswheelchairillinois.org).  As a participant you still need a platform and a memorized speech, and you are still asked questions without having any way to be prepared.  So yes, a pageant.  I just didn’t walk around in high heels like I wish I could.

What do you mean your goals are my goals?

I have my own platform and goals I want to achieve in the next year, but I’m also curious in hearing from my readers.  I’d love to hear about your opinion on what I write about.  What do you think?  What changes do you think need to be made when it comes to society and disabilities?  As someone with a disability, what do you wish people would know?  Never hesitate to comment, or send me an e-mail at mswheelchairillinois2014@gmail.com!


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