Scrapbook - scroll down to view ALL photo's
Cathy, Nancy & Juliette
Cathy & Barbara (1st Runner Up)
Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2007
Jason, Cathy & Dusty
Cathy (daughter) & Cathy
Norwegian Jewel Cruise 2008
W.E.A.N. Self-Esteem Workshop for Girls 13-18 with Disabilities
Governor O'Malley signing the ADA documents
Sheila, Rich Solli (MTA Mgr of Certification, Customer Service & Communications) & Cathy
Cathy, Denise, Nancy, Renee
& Janice
Graduates of the Self-Esteem Workshop
ADA "YESTERDAYTODAYTOMORROW" Celebration in Annapolis, MD with Governor O'Malley
W.E.A.N. Queen for a Day
2009
Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2010
Sheila, Nancy, Juliette & Cathy
Sheila, Brittany, Juliette & Cathy
Shannon Minnick
Ms. Wheelchair MD 2010
     SHEILA               SHANNON            ANNETTE            CHELSEA
Niki Swann was crowned Ms. Wheelchair VA 2010-2011
Niki Swann from Heathsville was crowned Ms. Wheelchair VA 2010-2011 on March 27th at the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, VA. Niki also won Ms. Congeniality.

Niki is 23 years old and resides in Midlothian, VA. She has used her wheelchair since the age of 16 when she suffered a spinal cord injury due to a motor vehicle accident. She is earning her Masters in English Literature at VCU and teaches composition at Rappahannock Community College. 

Her Platform: Breaking Down Sterotypes to Build Opportunities.
Her Motto of Inspiration: Accept No Boundaries.


Photos: Ms. Wheelchair VA Program
The programs theme "Celebrate Life" showcased the accomplishments of seven remarkable women who have overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve and accomplish great success.

First runner up: India Simms from Crozet
Second runner up: Stephanie Coleman from Green Bay
Scholarship Award: Lindsay Spatz from Charlottesville

As the Author of My Sister My Hero Cathy Porter Ms. Wheelchair 2007 and the Richmond Disability Examiner, I had the honor of being one of three judges.

Judges: Kelly Narowski, former Ms. Wheelchair Missouri 2001 and government contractor providing safety briefings to the United States Army Soldiers and Aaron Chilton, Executive Manager with Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing.

Ms. Wheelchair Virginia (501(c) (3) is the largest Ms. Wheelchair state program in the country.  It was an event to remember for the contestants, the guests as well as the judges.



Judges: Kelly Narowski, Nancy Carey & Aaron Chilton
Photo: Amber Hooker
HOSTESS of the Ms. Wheelchair VA 2010-2011

Miss Virginia 2009 Chinah Helmandollar 

Chinah is a 23 year old graduate of James Madison University where she earned a degree in theatre.

Chinah's platfrom: Serving Virginians with Disabilities and the Children's Miracle Network.

As Ms. Virginia, she will travel 20,000 miles across Virginia sharng her message and entertaining.
Nancy Carey, Chinah Helmandollar and Amber Hooker
Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2011 is CROWNED
Five women with determination, confidence and a mission converged on the Hilton Hotel in Rockville, MD to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair MD 2010.

Women who, everyday, raise the bar for people with disabilities.  No longer are they content with the status quo - they are rolling out of their comfort zone to uncharted territories.
Patrina Franklin
Sheila Whitaker
Sharonda Johnson-Wilkes
Kimberly Jordan-Gaskins
Annette Ingram
It was a great event.  And from this picture, they had a great time at the costume party.

Dressed for the crowning - these ladies looked FABULOUS!
Cathy Porter, Northern Coordinator for the Ms. Wheelchair MD Pageant,  enjoyed her photo shoot and was proud of Sheila Whitaker and Patrina Franklin whom she prepared for the competion.
It was a tough competition -- each women brought her A+ game to the table, but Sharonda Johnson-Wilkes took the title of Ms. Wheelchair MD 2011. Sharonda is married with two children, a business women and advocate for disabled adults. 

Juliette Rizzo, Ms. Wheelchiar MD 2004 and Ms. Wheelchair America 2005 offered her congratulations!

Sharonda Johnson-Wilkes
Ms. Wheelchair MD 2011
Virginia Victory Games
Since I accepted the challenge to write as the Richmond Disability Examiner, I've been asked to participate in events, and for the Virginia Victory Games, as a Welcome Address speaker with Niki Swann, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2010. 
Participants of the 31st Annual Virginia Victory Games took home more than the gold medals, they took home higher self-esteen and confidence.  Twenty-seven athletics converged on St. Christopher School eager to show Richmond they were competitors in the games of 60 Meters, 200 Meters, Wheelchair Slalom, Standing Long Jump, Short Put, Club Throw, Softball Throw and Bowling.
Niki Swann, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2010 enjoyed the day sharing photo ops with some famous people:

Niki Headley, Nashville Recording Artist and Ronald McDonald.

The particpants continually gathered around Niki for a photo op -- and rightly so, she is a lovely lady who proudly represented Virginia through her reign.
Brittany Meyer, in addition to receiving many gold medals, was the recipient of the James Geter Sprit Award for the participant who showed the best spirit. And another contestant received a special KISS by his volunteer aid.

It was a great event -- and this Richmond Disabilty Examiner had a great time. 
W.E.A.N. Queen for a Day at the Women's Expo - Catonsville, MD
From Virginia to Maryland I travel to attend events. And once again, I returned to the W.E.A.N. Queen for a Day event with Cathy and Sheila.  In all regards, it was a perfect day from beginning to end.
A day of QUEENS indeed:

Ms. Wheelchair Mayland
Ms. Maryland
America Mrs.
Mrs. Maryland
Ms. West Virginia Teen
Ms. Wheelchair MD 2011

Add to these queens, all the great ladies that came out for a day of pampering, including Cathy and Sheila.
America Mrs. from New Jersey was the official "crowner" for the event. 
As the pictures show -- they wore their crowns with pride!!!
The vendors and guests watched as each queen received her crown!
Janice Jackson, Sharonda Johnson-Wilkes and Cathy Porter
Sheila Whitaker displaying Cathy's THUMBS UP! 
Who has the BIGGER crown?
America Mrs.
No event would be possible without the help of
VOLUNTEERS (including this one behind the camera!)


Connections 2011 Fair
Children's Science Museum
Connections 2011 Fair for children and youth with special needs and their families.  This event showcased the products and services for families and professionals connected with children with special needs.

I attended this event last year and met wonderful people with great resources for the disability community.  And this year I had the honor of meeting Emily McGrail, the new Ms. Wheelchair VA 2011.

Sportable: Virginia Paralympics Experience
Hand Cycling, Track and Field
From Connections 2011 to the Virginia Paralympics Experience, Ms. Wheelchair Virginia, Emily and I had a great day of bonding.  Kristen Lessig, Executive Director of Sportable introduced the guest speakers:
  • Polly Sweeny, Special Advisor for the Governor on Disability Issues
Ride-Away of Richmond representative and Emily enjoy the very "chilly" day!
Anjali prepares for the race.  She is no stranger to the track:
1999 GOLD MEDAL winner for the Giant Slalom at the Chevy Truck Disabled World Cup in Breckenridge, CO. and Bronze Medalist in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China are just a few of her great accomplishments.  She has her "wheels" set on the 2012 London games.

She is ranked among the top three fastest T53 women in the world for the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter events!
Anjali teaches the competitors about the use of hats and gloves. 

And for Stephanie Copeland, the secrets of racing.
Emily and the Chick-fil-A Eat Mor Chikn Cow.
Emily and Stephanie Copeland, 2nd runner-up at the Ms. Wheelchair VA 2011 Pageant. Contestants remain friends after the pageant is over.
Racing bikes for different levels of disabilites.
It was a great event -- a bit on the chilly and wet side, but the experience was worth the weather. Due to the WIND and RAIN, these great competitors were not able to compete in the race, but they rolled away with GOLD MEDALS of triumph for their determination to participate.

The participants proved "Disabled Does Not Mean Unable" and the volunteers, vendors, family and friends - including this Richmond Disability Examiner, enjoyed a day viewing great triumphs over adversity.
I had a great time at the event.  Anjali and Stephanie are women of strength. Both overcame their disability and are incredible role models to the world!
Emily McGrail, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012
Special Guest
5th Annual Step UP for Down Syndrome 5K & Family Festival - Short Pump Mall

October 8th was a beautiful day in Richmond. Emily shared her achievements, resources and great gifts for the attendees. 
The children loved her cute animal notepads.
The Miracles in Motion Dance Team performed for the attendees and shoppers at Short Pump Mall.
Richmond House
Provides residential living for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder who can live indepently with support.

I had the privledge of interviewing Leslie B. Hundley, Excutive Director and Ed Wren, eight year resident. It was an informative interview with Ed as my tour guide. His social, communication and behavior skills were impressive as he shared the history of Richmond House (www.richmondhouse.org).

Click here for the full article.
Ed shared the Richmond House scrapbook with me. He knew names, dates and the details of every picture.
Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2012
Contestants gathered from across Maryland to compete in the ...

Ms. Wheelchair MD
2012 Pageant

Lades of courage -- these incredible women rolled across their threshhold of "rejection" to offer their advocacy outreach to the state of Maryland.
And the winner is ....

Courtney Wallace

Courtney poses with Robert Watson, President of the Ms. Wheelchair MD Pageant program and Sheila Whitaker,1st Runner-up.

Courtney is a Life Coach and is the CEO of InsideOut Entertainment.


Courtney also shares a photo op with her family and ...

Juliette Rizzo
Ms. Wheelchair MD 2004
Ms. Wheelchair America 2005
Sharonda  Johnson-Wilkes
Ms. Wheelchair MD 2011

Sharonda shared her final thoughts on her reign.  As Ms. Wheelchair MD 2011, Sharonda traveled the state  raising awareness of the issues people with disabilities face every day. 
Every pageant has its moments:  Both Juliette Rizzo and Sheila Whitaker wore shoes with ARTWORK on the bottom.

The Ms. Wheelchair MD previous title holders share their insight and wisdom with Courtney.  As Ms. Wheelchair MD 2012, Courtney will carry the torch that each of the previous titleholders held to educate their state on disability issues. Chick here to learn about the Ms. Wheelchair MD Pageant.
Sheila, Michelle and Cathy enjoy a special moment at the pageant. Michelle is Cathy's amazing aid and women with a heart for the disabled. 
Connections 2012 - Children's Science Museum
Stephanie Copeland, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012-2013 enjoyed the day at the Connections 2012 event.  Vendors from across Richmond and beyond shared their resources with the eager to learn attendees.

EVERYONE wanted a picture with Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012.
Stephanie and a Canine Compasion for Independece dog.
Stephanie poses with Da Capo Virginia - Musicians making Moments, and Memories that Matter.
Miracle in Motion dancers and Dr. Bear entertained everyone, including Stephanie.
The Virginia Home 5K Walk and Roll
The Virginia Home 5K Walk and Roll was great -- picture perfect weather and lots of athletes.
The event was so much FUN.  Stephanie Copeland, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012-2013 enjoyed the day as she posed with the volunteers and residents.  And the balloon crown HAT, it was a gift from a local teenager who makes this great gifts. 
The residents of The Virginia Home were so friendly.  Their smiling faces were evidence of how happy they were to participate in the event.
Ride-Away Open House
Ride-Away of Richmond offers trucks, vans and even accessible motorcyles. Their products excite the senses of all who desire the thrill of the open road.

Stephanie Copeland, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012-2013 and I enjoyed the Open House with the local disability resource vendors and the Paralyzed Veterans of VA.
Trucks
Vans
Motorcyles
Free-wheeling Stephanie had to have a picture on the motorcycle!
World of Possibilities Expo
Another great year at the Expo. We are blessed to have Mona at the helm of such a great MD disability resource.

Resources and Entertainment surrounded our booth...we were right in front of the stage.
New vendors showcased their resources including a HUGE picture of Susanne Summers as the LifeWave Ambassador.
And the great ladies at the Fashionably Advantaged Magazine.
Even Stephanie Copeland, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012 was represented by Cathy, Janice and Sheila.
We were sarenated by Elvis and Johnny Cash impersonators.  Cathy received the scarf and Sheila the teddy bear.
Sheila Whitaker, 1st Runner Up Ms. Wheelchair MD 2012 and
Cathy Porter, Ms. Wheelchair MD 2007 shared booth duty.
MDA Lock-Up Richmond VA
A great outreach for the MDA.  Yes, I was a jailbird for a cause.  Picked up by a limo and escorted to jail at the Sheraton Hotel and returned in a Sheriff's car.  Richmond raised $61,000+ for the families in our community.
2012 Democratic National Convention
September was a memorable month for this Richmond Disability Examiner.  As the Specialty Media Team Captain for Disabilities and Seniors, I stepped out of my comfort zone my miles.

Juliette Rizzo, Kristine Austria and I served as liaisons to the Disability and Senior media category connecting newsprint, radio and web with "newsworthy" stories from the Disability and Senior Caucus.
Mark Greene, Kanasa delegate, was interviewed to share his advocay with the nation about disability issues in his state.
Daniel S. Elkus, a twenty-year old with cerebral palsy respented Michigan's 9th Congressional District. He share his inspirational story of overcoming physical and educational obstacles to pursue his goal of public service to the community.
DISABILITY DELEGATES
Representatives and Heros from across nation shared their views on their political platforms. 

AND, Michelle Obama ------>
Veteran Tammy Duckworth told of her triumph over adversary through her experience as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. She lost both legs and part of the use of the righ arm in an explosion.
AAPD President, Mark Perriello, shared the outreach of American Assocation of People with Disabilites.
Juliette and Sean welcome the media to the Specialty Media Lounge.
Ted Kennedy, Jr. (cancer survivor) and Patrick Kennedy (intellectual disability) shared their stories of triumph over adversity and posed with pictures with people with disabilities.
It was an amazing week. In addition to the keynote speakers and inspirational stories, the finale was alive with the music of Marc Anthony, James Taylor, Mary J. Blige and Foo Fighters.  This Richmond Disability Examiner and Disability Advocate expanded her knowledge and outreach across the nation.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney campaigns in
Richmond, VA at Mobility Supercenter
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Rep. J. Randy Forbes welcomed the voters to the Victory Rally at Mobility Supercenter.
Before Romney took center stage, Jett Williams, an American country music performer and daughter of the late Hank Williams, Sr entertained the crowd of 3,300 with memorable songs, including "Your Cheating Heart" written by her father.
Everyone wanted a picture of Mitt Romney, including the veterans and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took the stage to underscore Virginia's critical role in the fast-approaching election.  "This country's coming back, thanks to you we're going to win in November. Virginia is going to get me the White House and we're taking back America!"
For someone who is not political, I have certainly learned a lot about politics in the past few months.  2012 will be remembered for expanding my political horizons.
Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013
Five contestants competed for the title of 
Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013 at the Rockville Hitlon in Bethesda, MD:
Ghani Watson
Alexandria Gethers
Patrina Franklin
Sheila Whitaker
Lea Mary Edgecomb
But for 2013, it was an historical crowning:

Sr. Ms. Wheelchair MD - Sheila Whitaker
Ms. Wheelchair MD - Patrina Franklin
Jr. Ms. Wheelchair MD - Lea Mary Edgecomb.
For the first time in its 42 years, the Ms.Wheelchair MD Pageant crowned three amazing women. It was an exciting twenty-four hours for each contestant including team building, judging, questions for the President Obama and lots of fun.

Ride-Away of Richmond was a proud sponsor of the program as can been seen from the BIG SIGN held up by the three queens.
Robert Watson, President of the Ms. Wheelchair MD Pageant posed for pictures with the new queens.  This Richmond Disability Examiner missed a photo-op with Lea.
A proud moment for the program as the current queens and previous queens posed for a photo-op - including Juliette Rizzo, Ms. Wheelchair MD 2004 & Ms.Wheelchair America 2005, Shannon Minnick, Ms Wheelchair MD 2010 and Lakendra Lawan Nelson,  Ms. Wheelchair DC 2013. 

The picture would not be complete without Cathy Porter, Ms. Wheelchair MD 2007 - Peoples Choice Award Winner 2008, Northern Coordinator and Coach for Sheila and Patrina.  It was a very memorabe pageant and it made history!
Cathy, Sheila and Sharonda Johnson-Wilkes (Ms. Wheelchair 2011) posed for picture infront of the Ride-Away accessible van.
Each contestant and queen are proud representatives of the Ms. Wheelchair MD Pageant.
Ride-Away opened its doors to Veterans to celebrate their special event.  The guests of honor were entertained by Sit down Stand Up Comic Brett Leake and Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012 Stephanie Copeland.

It was a great event - complete with a delicious luncheon followed by pictures of our Veterans for our newly created Wall of Honor in the showroom.
Ride-Away Veterans Day Celebration Luncheon
Stephanie posed with Pam May, General Manager and Katie Walter, Mobility Consultant.

Robert is our afternoon visitor and brings great joy to the office.
Feb. 12, 2013 Stephanie Copeland, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012 honored at the House of Delegates
A great honor for Stephanie to acheive during her reign as Ms.Wheelchair VA 2012. AND for me as the newest Board Member of the Ms. Wheelchair VA Program to be able to attend.
March 8, 2013  THE VIRGINIA VICTORY GAMES
The Virginia Victory Games offered people with disabilities an opportunity to compete for the GOLD.  And they did in a variety of sporting events. Each athlete gave their all and they achieved more than medals and honors, but in increased self-esteen that they COULD compete and WIN.
March 17, 2013 Sportable Paralympic Experience
This aspiring athlete was determined to try ALL sportable options. Not only is she athletic, but she is very  photogenic!
Thanks to the VCU Siegel Center, Sportable was able to offer this amazing experience to children and adults.
Once again, Stephanie Copeland, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012 made her appearance and created a photo frenzy.
April 6, 2013 Ms. Wheelchair Virginia GALA
Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center
Brittany Yates was crowned Ms. Wheelchair VA 2013 - 2014 and Bailee Masters was crowned 2013 Little Miss Wheelchair Virginia Ambassador.

Britany was crowned Saturday evening and Bailee was crowned Sunday morning at the Queen's Breakfast.
Stephanie posed with the judges Angie Wilkerson (head judge), Theresa Sheffield Sheridan and Stephan King. Her REIGN was showcased at her table -- with many pictures and wonderful menories.
 
Queen's Breakfast .
As a Board Member at this event, I had withdrawls from taking pictures!  BUT -- I did capture some to record the memories.
Farewell to Stepanie for her amazng year and welcome to Brittany and Bailee for an amazing year to come.

10 state pageants between Maryland and Virginia, but my 1st as a Board Member.  The lessons I learned were PRICELESS!

And the amazing "dolls" that presented the mission of Taking Dis out of Disability!
May 10, 2013 The Virginia Home 5K Walk and Roll
A beautiful day for outside activities for the resides of The Virginia Home. Each smile brought a smile to my face and memories of their amazing determination to finish the course.
September 20, 2014
Sheila Whitaker, Ms. Senior Wheelchair MD 2012 - 2013
Sheila and Cathy Porter, Ms. Wheelchair MD 2007,  enjoy a day at the Richmond Zoo.
Sheila and Cathy attend the wedding of Dusty & Jamie Carey. She also shares a photo op with the staff at the Brandermill Hotel.
October 4, 2013
Mechanicsville Christian Center Disability Family Day w/ REAP
An exciting day at the Festival with Karen Hannon, Exe. Direcotor of REAP (Richmond Entrepreneur's Assistance Program) and staff.  And an opportunity to share the Ms. Wheelchair VA program with Kara McKean and her mom.
Members of the Church dressed up in custome to entertain the children and their families.
March 8, 2014
Virginia Victory Games
St. Christopher's School hosted the Virginia Victory Games once again. A great day of fun and entertainment with athletes, family and friends, including Stephanie Copeland, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2012 with Ronald McDonald.

Virginia Victory Games offers children and young adults an opportunity to exprience the thrill of competition and VICTORY!


Athletes and volunteers enjoyed a spin on the REAP prize board.