Jean-Marie Lawrence of Chattanooga was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2012 on April 7, 2012 at Cherokee Mills in Knoxville. Lawrence is a 25 year-old graduate student at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga working on her Master’s in Public Administration. She was diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy in 1993. Lawrence is the co-developer of transition programming for students with disabilities at UT Chattanooga. Her passion and purpose is advocating and creating policy for people with disabilities. Lawrence wants to raise awareness to the issues of fixed route public transportation. Lawrence will go on to compete in the national competition in Rhode Island August 6th-12th.
Ashley Grimes of Cleveland was 1st runner up and Deborah Pearson of Memphis was 2nd runner up.
Hannah McElroy of Clinton was crowned Junior Miss Wheelchair Tennessee. McElroy is a 16 year-old sophomore at Anderson County High School. She plans to go to college to study Food Science to become a restaurant health inspector. McElroy, who has Spina Bifida, wants to work to improve accessibility in her school not only for herself, but for those students with disabilities who come after her.
Sarah Tamar Perez of Strawberry Plains was crowned Little Miss Wheelchair Tennessee. Perez is a 10-year old straight A student at Knoxville Jewish Day School. She started a program called Children Helping Children. Perez wants to be a neurosurgeon when she grows up. Perez, who has a C6-T4 spinal cord injury from a car accident in May 2011, wants to educate people that we are all equal regardless of mobility.
Hannah Faith Latimer of Camden was Little Miss Wheelchair Tennessee 1st runner up.
The Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee Organization would like to thank Home Helpers, Cherokee Mills, Superior Van and Mobility, Manorhouse Assisted Living, and Richard and Gail McGrath for their sponsorship of the program.
See our website to learn more about our organization: www.mswheelchairtn.org. To have any of these lovely ladies speak or attend your event, please call 865-288-0912. We are currently looking for board members to start planning the next pageant.
About Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee:
While contestants are showcased in a pageant format, Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee is not a beauty contest. It is a competition, started in 1996, to select the most accomplished and articulate spokesperson for persons with disabilities across the State of Tennessee.
Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee is charged with a continuing effort to educate the public regarding the dignity, productiveness and basic values of people with disabilities. She must be able to communicate both the needs and abilities of her constituency to the general public, the business community and government. Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee will have the opportunity to travel and make public appearances. She will ultimately represent Tennessee at the Ms. Wheelchair America Program.
Contact Person: Samantha Moreno or Mike McGrath