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Beauty on the Move – Women in Wheelchairs
Once upon a time, society saw the disabled as dependent, unable to contribute to society. This has changed significantly. Today, disabled people, especially women in wheelchairs, have begun to break this stigmatized perception with amazing results. Moreover, manufacturers have developed designer chairs to highlight the incredible beauty and strength of these women.
Last year, New York designers held a fashion show specifically aimed at displaying these chairs. The show was hosted by four women who founded Discovery For Design, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women dependent on wheelchairs. One of these women, Marilyn Hamilton, is the co-inventor of the Quickie wheelchair. The other three were sports, arts and business dynamos who suffered traumatic injuries and ended up in wheelchairs.
This fashion show was not only dedicated to stylish wheelchairs, but also fashionably designed clothing ensembles specially created to flatter women who spend a significant amount of time in wheelchairs. The “Roll” models were four women selected from across the country who had become disabled and demonstrated inspiring strength and perseverance despite their health problems or accidents.
One of these fascinating women, Jenny Smith, met with an accident while doing gymnastics. Her spinal cord injury, which occurred 17 years ago, hasn’t stopped her from driving, getting a master’s degree in psychology or working for the Mobility Project, which has provided over 1,000 wheelchairs to disabled people in developing countries.
In comparison, Melissa Holley was working her way through college when a car accident resulted in her spinal cord injury. She has spoken, participated in fundraising events and campaigned to bring an experimental spinal cord treatment procedure to the United States. She has not let her wheelchair hamper her life.
Michele Boardman is a young woman diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. She was confined to a wheelchair at the age of 12. Despite this, she fulfilled her dream of going to college and plans to become a pediatric genetic counselor. She was one of nine young people worldwide to be honored by the Yes I Can! Foundation in 2004.
The fourth model, Rosemary Rosetti, is a successful woman whose life was turned upside down by the fall of a large tree that crushed her spinal cord during a bike ride. After her recovery, she began traveling the world and discussing her journey in living life actively in a wheelchair. She has published a book on the subject and was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair America.
These women are a tribute to the amazing strength and beautiful journey that women in wheelchairs are capable of. Their story is truly an inspiration to us all.
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