Who Are The Women In Wheelchairs

The women in wheelchairs are your neighbors, the aspiring swimmers participating in the Paralympics and the doctor who your daughter wants to become.

When we think of women and wheelchairs, the picture that comes to mind is the young mother, but there are just as many women with different roles.

There are several young women who share their stories in video format. See how one woman from Canada has remodeled her home. Watch the video to learn what she did and why.



Beauty Pageants

Wheelchair pageants have been a part of the United States since 1972 in the form of Ms. Wheelchair America. Dr. Philip K. Wood organized the pageant for the promotion of the achievements, as well as the needs, of people with mobility impairments. Ms. Wheelchair America recognizes the accomplishments of women who utilize wheelchairs for mobility.

The non-profit program has grown to include programs in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia. The state programs are staffed and coordinated by volunteers dedicated to increasing public awareness so that all citizens have the opportunities to lead productive and meaningful lives.

Women In Sports

The University of Illinois Fighting Illini Wheelchair Basketball program was the brainchild of Dr. Timothy Nugent. The Gizz kids, as they were originally called, were the beginning of a proactive movement for wheelchair athletes. Since that beginning, the college has added several wheelchair sports to their athletic program. To read about their history check out the college website.

The University of Alabama started a wheelchair basketball program in 2003 and in 2006 added a men’s team. They have some pretty impressive athletes, who have competed in the World Championships and the Canadian Championships.

Women Wheelchair Bodybuilding is a fairly new venue. Ranking in the sport is determined by the status of show and date of when it takes place. Professional ranking will always rank above Amateur shows. A professional bodybuilder can only move down in ranking by losing to another wheelchair bodybuilder at a professional show, not an amateur show and this program is for young women and men. To read about their history check out the college website.

The University of Alabama started a wheelchair basketball program in 2003 and in 2006 added a men’s team. They have some pretty impressive athletes, who have competed in the World Championships and the Canadian Championships.

Women In Business

Free Spirit is matched by her enthusiasm to explore and create the most unusual art form and to be a part of it by being the canvas and artist all in one! Wow! Sue Austin has amazed many with her patent pending wheelchair which allows her to experience the underwater world to dive or create visual artwork that one can only imagine. Never let it be said that women can’t dream and make their dreams come true to experience the most unique situations. By dreaming and using her artistic and creative ability she has teamed up with others to create something most unusual and impressive! If you can dream it – it can happen!

To read more about Sue Austin follow Sue on Creating the Spectacle. What an inspiration to anyone that when you want to accomplish something persistence will pay off.

Joni Eareckson Tada - An evangelical Christian author, radio host, and founder of Joni and Friends, an organization "accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community." A diving accident in 1967 left Tada hospitalized and paralyzed (as a quadriplegic; unable to use her hands or legs.) After two years of rehabilitation and in a wheelchair, Tada began working to help others in similar situations. Tada wrote of her experiences in her international best-selling autobiography, Joni, which has been distributed in many languages, and which was made into a feature film of the same name.

Clothing designer Izzy Camilleri is a pioneer on a new frontier. Designing clothing for women in wheelchairs has put her fashion designing career on a whole new level. She designs clothing that not only is easy for the woman to put on, but also the care provider. The material the clothing is made from is carefully considered as skin integrity is a major concern for a number of women.

Camilleri designs and creates a line of clothing for women who use wheelchairs called the IZ Collection of Adaptable Clothing. The needs of people living in wheelchairs are specialized, varied and numerous and underserved by the mainstream fashion industry.

Louisa Summerfield is managing director of wheeliechix-chic a site promoting fashion for women in wheelchairs. She has been in a wheelchair since the age of 15 due to a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. This has not stopped her as she is currently an active mother and owner of a clothing line dedicated to women in wheelchairs. She has some very feminine clothing available.

Share Your Story With Other Women (And Men)

Others are waiting to read about your story. Have a funny or inspirational moment, helpful tip or problem? Share it! We all need a word of encouragement. Now is your opportunity to share your experience.

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