Advocating for people with disabilities

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gaskinsKimberly Jordan-Gaskins was born and raised in Washington DC. Kimberly attended the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts under the vocal instruction of Ms. Monica Otal and Mr. Edward Jackson.

Continuing her vocal training, Kimberly attended Kent State University majoring in Vocal Music Performance. Shortly after her first year of college, Kimberly was involved in an automobile accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down, however determined to overcome, Kimberly endeavors to pursue her career as a soloist.

Five words that describe Kimberly best are as follows: confident, virtuous, approachable, purpose driven, and fervent.

Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2014, Shani Watson

A native Washingtonian, Shani graduated from Eastern High School and completed her Bachelor of Science in Management at the University of Phoenix in 2001.

 Having an interest in law enforcement, Shani worked as a civilian Secret Service employee. She also satisfied her interest in medicine by serving in the Army Reserves as an Operating Room Technician at Walter Reed Medical Center for two years. 
Shani joined the Washington Tae Kwon Do club where she learned the traditions and the techniques of the hand and the foot. Her athletic ability and keen understanding of Tae Known Do allowed her to become one of the lead Kick Boxing Aerobics Instructors within the Tae Robics Fitness Program. She then went on to become an independent Group and Personal Trainer.

Learn more about Shani …

Patrina Franklin, Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013

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.

Follow Patrina’s Year …
Learn more about Patrina …

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!!

Lea Edgecomb


Lea’s Story

Learn More About Lea’s Story …


Lea’s Photos

"Every breath you take is a second chance to do something amazing" Spoken by Lea Edgecomb to a group of 7th and 8th graders and their parents 2/10/13. My girl is wise beyond her years.

“Every breath you take is a second chance to do something amazing” Spoken by Lea Edgecomb to a group of 7th and 8th graders and their parents 2/10/13. My girl is wise beyond her years.

Though sometimes her strength can be weak, and she wonders if she can keep up the fight, this girl will always push through. She Will be strong.

Though sometimes her strength can be weak, and she wonders if she can keep up the fight, this girl will always push through. She Will be strong.

Me and Morgan in coach Songs class Spirit Day! Seniors baby!

Me and Morgan in coach Songs class Spirit Day! Seniors baby!