Updated February 23 at 11:56am
12/31/69 07:00PM

Rhode Island to Host Ms. Wheelchair America

Ms. Wheelchair America Brings Grace, Talent and Diversity to RI On August 11, 2012, Ms. Wheelchair America will be crowned in Rhode Island for the first time since the competition’s …

Ms. Wheelchair America Brings Grace, Talent and Diversity to RI

On August 11, 2012, Ms. Wheelchair America will be crowned in Rhode Island for the first time since the competition’s inception in 1972. Co-hosted by the Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation and the Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island Foundation, the Ms. Wheelchair America 2013 competition incorporates a week-long “Leadership Institute,” including activities, leadership workshops, mentoring, networking and judging sessions with a panel of diverse judges from across the country. The winner will be announced on Saturday, August 11, at the Crowning Ceremony, which will take place at the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel from 4 - 8 pm.

“Unlike traditional ‘beauty’ pageants, Ms. Wheelchair America is not a contest to select the most attractive individual,” says Kristen Connors, the first Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island, Ms. Wheelchair America 2006, and now President of the Ms. Wheelchair America Board. “The judges look at the contestants’ achievements along with their advocacy, communication, and presentation skills to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for persons with disabilities. Our contestants are women who have achieved many things in their lives including advanced degrees and successful careers despite their mobility challenges.”

Judging will be based on a combination of private interviews, a platform speech presentation and on stage questions. The selected representative must be able to communicate both the needs and the accomplishments of her constituency to the general public, the business community and the legislature.

“Ms. Wheelchair America provides a national presence and opportunity for achievement for women who happen to be wheelchair users,” states Autumn Grant, Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts 2006 and Ms. Wheelchair America 2007. “Serving as Ms. Wheelchair America is an honor and a privilege and an amazing, life-changing opportunity for women in wheelchairs.”

Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island, Katrina Horsch of Warwick, RI, and Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts, Patti Panzarino, of East Wareham Massachusetts, will be two of the over 30 competitors vying for the opportunity to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 52 million Americans living with disabilities.

"We are a highly media-focused society. What we see there is often what we grow up believing is important,” explains Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island, Katrina Horsch. “People with disabilities have historically been absent or misrepresented in the public eye. No one should grow up feeling they have nothing to offer the world. People with disabilities need to be visible and represented by the media in a meaningful way. If the world is ever going to fully accept us, the world needs to see us. As Ms. Wheelchair RI, I will promote the accurate and dynamic representation of people with disabilities in the media."

“For 40 years, Ms. Wheelchair America title holders have been strong advocates on state and national levels. I think the time has finally come that our competition gets more mainstream, national attention – just like Miss America,” adds Kristen Connors. “We are a non-profit organization with hard-working, dedicated volunteers. While our decades of hard work have helped raise awareness of the needs of people with disabilities, the exceptional women who have worn the Ms. Wheelchair America crown are an inspiration to all, disabled and non-disabled.“


For more information on the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant, visit http://www.mswheelchairamerica2013.org https://www.facebook.com/#!/MsWheelchairAmerica2013Pageant http://www.mswheelchairamerica.org/

To arrange an interview with contestants, gain access to photos or b-roll or to attend any of the events in the attached schedule contact Jami Ouellette at 401-465-0983 or jami@imajassociates.com.

This year’s sponsors include:

American Association for Homecare; ATG Rehab; Boston Mojo Booth; BraunAbility; Ellura; Global Extreme Mobility; Hudson Seating and Mobility; Invacare; J. Ferm; National Seating and Mobility; People for Quality Care; Permobil; Ride-Away; Sunrise Medical; TILite; VPG; YBF

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