GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Twenty-two women from all over the country are competing for Ms. Wheelchair America at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids this weekend.
The participants were selected as titleholders in their home states before heading to Michigan. This year’s event is the first time it’s been in person since 2019. For the past two year’s, Mary Free Bed has helped with the event.
In order to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for people with disabilities, the competition is based on advocacy, achievement and presentation.
Ms. Wheelchair America began Monday and ends on Sunday once a winner is announced. Each day, contestants took part in nightly group dinners, workshops, and other activities.
“It’s a wonderful organization, honestly,” said Krista Allison, Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2022. “On my way here, coming from Ohio, I was driving — when I hit the Michigan line, I mean this will say it all, as soon as I saw the Michigan sign like I had tears in my eyes because just the sisterhood.”
Shelly Lose, president of Ms. Wheelchair America, said it brings together a group of women who face the same struggles and issues. She said it helps the women realize they aren’t facing it alone.
Michigan’s own Sarah Nassar is also in the running for the national title. She’s a law student and founder of the Disability Association.
The week ends with two events open to the public: a speech night on Friday, and the crowning gala on Saturday. A $10 donation to Ms. Wheelchair America is asked for in-person attendance. You can also livestream the events on Mary Free Bed’s Facebook page.