On November 21, 2012 I attended the Goodwill Industries’ 57th annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Baltimore Convention Center as they feed more then 2,100 needy and homeless persons. I was joined by previous Ms. Wheelchair Maryland title holders Shannon Minnick (2010), Cathy Porter (2007) and Ms. Senior Wheelchair Maryland 2013 Shelia Whitaker.
The Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013 gala occurred on November 3, 2012 at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville, Maryland. Congratulations to all contestants including: Patrina Franklin from Churchton, Alexandria Gethers from Baltimore, Shani Watson from Upper Marlboro, Sheila Whitaker from Glen Burnie, and Lea Edgecomb from Germantown. Patrina Franklin was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013, and Lea Edgecomb was crowned Junior Miss Wheelchair Maryland 2013. For the first time in Ms. Wheelchair Maryland history, a Senior Ms. Wheelchair Maryland was named. Sheila Whitaker was crowned Senior Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013. Patrina will represent Maryland at the national pageant in July in Houston, Texas.
I would like to give a big thank you to everyone involved with making Ms. Wheelchair Maryland possible. I am truly blessed and honored to have been crowned Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013. During my weekend stay at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville, Maryland I was able to create memorable and meaningful friendships with the other contestants. I’m sure this is only the beginning of many more adventures to come with these ladies. I’m proud to say my strong determination and ambition paid off as this was my second time running for the title.
I never dreamed that I would ever be telling you about my experience at the Ms. Wheelchair MD pageant! After my accident I thought my life would just be depressing sitting in my wheelchair feeling sorry for myself but boy was I ever wrong!
I have been so fortunate to have so many wonderful things happen to me since that fateful night back in 2009!
The pageant was a 2 day event and started Friday evening with a pajama party. We learned how to put on make-up the right way and we each got beautiful bracelets with our names on them! We laughed and just enjoyed each others company. It was really nice being with other people that were close to my age in wheelchairs!
The next morning started around 9 am and I met with the rest of the girls. We had to do our platform speeches. I was a little nervous but I got through it with no problems! I think everyone liked it! We then had to tell President Obama (if we ever had the chance to meet him) what we would like to see changed. I told him I would like to see more funding in schools for drug and alcohol awareness! All the girls did such a good job!
Then I got to put on a beautiful sparkly dress and have my make-up done and my hair done! I felt like a princess! By the time my make-up and hair was done, I looked really nice! I felt really special too! Sometimes those “feeling special” moments are few and far between when you’re in a wheel chair, that’s for sure!
Then we were escorted into the pageant area by a really nice man while the hostess told a little about each of us. Everyone looked so beautiful!! Then the moment of truth! Crowning time! Shannon Minnick crowned me and she said such nice things about me! I am so blessed to know her! My mom cried (as usual) because she was so happy! It was a great moment! A feeling I never thought I’d experience again!
We then had a wonderful dinner while a lot of people came up to me and congratulated me! I was exhausted by the time the night was over with but WOW! What an experience it was! I am really looking forward to my year as Jr. Ms. Wheelchair MD! I know it is going to open so many doors for me! I can’t thank the organization enough for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful experience!!
See you at the Holiday party!! I’ll be the one with the crown and sash on!!
Sheila Whitaker resides in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Sheila has Cerebral Palsy. Her hobbies include crafts including needle point, crosswords, shopping, and spending time with friends. Sheila is an MCIL board member, sits on the Anne Arundel County Commission for Disability, and she enjoys advocating for her neighbors. Sheila describes herself as outgoing, friendly, a go-getter, streetwise, and a fighter for needs.