Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee Titleholders

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2019, Cyndi Leach

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2018, Lindsey Becker

Lindsey Becker, Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2018, is passionate about educating Tennesseans on the importance of resources within the disabled community. Lindsey, a Manchester native, and 2004 Coffee County High School graduate was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2018 in a ceremony held at the Doubletree Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee on September 30, 2017. She currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband, retired disabled Marine veteran, Wesley Becker of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.

While Lindsey is a wheelchair user who was born with Spina Bifida, she is also a Thyroid Cancer survivor as well. She is currently in partial remission. Through her own life experiences, Lindsey had gained a greater understanding of how vital programs like ABLE Youth (ableyouth.org), THYCA (Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association) (thyca.org), and the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee organization are in helping individuals get through challenges that they might be facing. Lindsey will make many appearances during her year as Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee where she will let others in similar situations know that they are not alone. She will teach them that not only can they get through their own circumstances, but they can also find positive ways to SHINE through them.

Lindsey uses her story, platform and her passion for helping others to try to make a positive difference in the world. Her main goal has always been to be an advocate for the disabled community, help others find the resources they need and to show people that your circumstances don’t have to define you negatively. As long as you have a willingness to try, a passion for what you are doing and an open heart and open mind, you can make a positive difference in the world around you. Lindsey currently owns her own music promotion company called Shine On Music City, LLC “ShineOnMusicCity.com.” She also writes a blog called “Meant To Be Lindsey B” which can be read at “MeantToBeLindseyB.com” where she writes about personal experiences in her life and thoughts on things that she feels might help others. Every blog has the common theme that everything in life happens for a reason and is “meant to be.” Lindsey hopes to one day write a book called “Meant To Be.”

Lindsey is no stranger to this particular pageant as she was crowned Jr. Miss Wheelchair Tennessee 2001 at the age of 16.  Even at that time, her ultimate goal was to one day become Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee. While Lindsey had hoped she would reach that goal last year in the same pageant, she instead won the award of Ms. Congeniality as well as First Runner-Up. Despite the outcome of last year’s pageant, she decided to enter the pageant again this year because she truly values what the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee program is and believes that is a positive resource. She knew that if she was going to truly “practice what she preached” then she needed to come back and try again. As she began to prepare for this year’s pageant she began to realize how much she had grown in her way of thinking in regard to what she could do better this time around, and she had become increasingly more passionate about her platform: The importance of resources. Ultimately, she was awarded the title of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2018, as well as “Best Speech” and “People’s Choice.”

Winning the title of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee is yet another chapter in Lindsey’s “Meant to Be” story as she spends the next year as an even greater advocate and will go on to compete in the Ms. Wheelchair America 2019 pageant in Grand Rapids, Michigan on July 30, 2018 – August 5, 2018.

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2017, Andrea Klein

Andrea was born and raised in Cleveland, TN.

She was initially diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy in 1980 but received genetic confirmation of Collagen 6 Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (COL6 CMD) from the National Institutes of Health in 2015. The disease causes a deficiency of Collagen Type 6 in all connective tissues including the muscles. It affects respiratory function, has distinct features with skin, involves joint contracture, and patients can have hypermobility of distal joints.

She is a 1993 Honors Graduate of Cleveland High School and received a Bachelor of Science in English and Journalism with a Minor in Public Relations in 1996 from Tennessee Technological University (TTU).

She has worked full time for Life Care Centers of America, Inc. since 2000 and currently serves as a Business Analyst in Information Technology.

In 2014, she founded an organization called “Breathe with MD” in memory of her sister Cheryl Lewis who passed away from respiratory failure. (See https://www.facebook.com/BreatheWithMD/ and http://www.breathewithmd.org/index.html). Breathe with MD shares reliable sources of information on breathing muscle weakness in neuromuscular disease and equips patients to become advocates for their own appropriate respiratory care. Breathe with MD administers a Facebook support group “Breathe with MD Support Group” with hundreds of member from across the globe.

As Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2017, Andrea will focus her advocacy on raising awareness about breathing muscle weakness in muscle-wasting disease and spread the message that those with neuromuscular disease can have accomplished, fulfilling lives, even if they require support for breathing.

Awards:

  • Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee Advocacy Award October 15, 2016
  • Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee People’s Choice Award October 15, 2016
  • The Speak Foundation Personal Achievement Award July 25, 2015

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2016, Carly Pearson

Carly Pearson of Knoxville, TN is a proud mother of two children. She sustained a spinal cord injury in 2002, when she fell while fighting wildfires in Oregon as part of her work with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She currently works as an independent distributor for Advocare International and a motivational speaker. Carly’s mission is to help people with disabilities live active and healthy lives.

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2015, Jenny Morton

As Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, Jenny’s goals are to encourage acceptance and education for parents with children with disabilities, to raise self-esteem of children with disabilities, and to promote People First Language.

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2014, Amanda Szidiropulosz

Amanda is an elementary school music teacher in Cleveland, Tennessee. Teaching music in public schools for 16 years is one of her greatest accomplishments. Amanda is now working toward her doctorate in teacher leadership. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a master’s degree in Technology in Teaching. Amanda has also won the Teacher of the Year award twice. She was born with spina bifida. As Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, Amanda will work to encourage youth with disabilities to find their inner rock star. “Sometimes our biggest disabilities are the limits we give ourselves,” she says. Follow Amanda on facebook!

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2013, Bliss Welch

Bliss has Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2B and describes herself as Determined, Independent, Loyal, Resilient, and Resourceful. Her goal as Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee will be to shift the focus from what people with disabilities cannot do to what we CAN do and to raise awareness of the Abilities of those with disabilities.

Follow the Year of Bliss

More About Bliss

Bliss is currently a graduate student working on her Master’s degree in Accountancy at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and holds an undergraduate degree in Organizational Management from Covenant College. She is employed at Island Cove Marina & Resort in the accounting department. Bliss is involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, assists as an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistant, and has also been a guest speaker at the International Dysferlin Conferences held throughout the country. Bliss enjoys hunting deer and new outfits for her 17-month old, Annabelle.

Bliss’ Platform Speech!

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2012, Jean-Marie Lawrence

Jean-Marie is a 25-year-old graduate student at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga working on her Masters in Public Administration: Local Government. She currently has a BS in Political Science: Legal Studies from the same school. Jean-Marie, who was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy in 1993, is the co-developer of transition programming for students with disabilities at UTC. Her passion and purpose is advocating and creating a policy for people with disabilities. Jean-Marie wants to raise awareness of the issues of fixed route public transportation.

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2009, Lorri Mabry

Related Posts

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2008, Kasondra Farmer

Kasondra Farmer is no stranger to the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee program, as she was the Junior Miss titleholder in 2000! She is 24 years old and uses a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy. The first in her family to attend college, she is a junior at Austin Peay State University, majoring in Psychology. In 2002, Austin Peay deemed her to be Freshman of the Year and the following year, she was named among the Top 40 Under 40 by The Tennessean. Following graduation, Kasondra intends to go to New York City, where she will pursue further education and a career in fashion merchandising. She believes that, “bravery is not the absence of fear, but overcoming our fears to accomplish a goal”.

Related Posts