Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reflections from the Beginning

It's been a little over two years since I was first crowned Ms. Wheelchair California 2009. It was a remarkable year full of transition, challenges, accomplishments, and most of all wonderful memories and experiences!

Since that time, two new wonderful women have succeeded me in this tradition. Jennifer Kumiyama did a fantastic job during her reign. She even became the Director of the first ever Little Miss Wheelchair California this year! Corey Petersen was crowned this past April as the new Ms. Wheelchair California 2011, and she is off to an amazing start already with her platform and appearances. It's been wonderful to look back and see the groundwork that was layed by women before me, the accomplishments that I acheived to help those who are reigning now, and to also see the future ahead for those that will continue to compete. The Ms. Wheelchair America program is truly a family and a wonderful support system.

To start back at the beginning where my reign began, take a look at the very first blog by clicking here. What a wonderful journey it was in 2009! Finally, to learn more about the Ms. Wheelchair California program and keep up with the current title holders, please visit the website by clicking here. And as always, you can keep up with what I'm doing in my life by visiting my website at

Be well, and love fully!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ms. Wheelchair CA 2010 wins 1st Runner Up at the Ms. Wheelchair America 2011 pageant!!

I was SO excited when I had the opportunity to crown my 1st Runner Up as the new Ms. Wheelchair CA 2010 back in April 2010 when I was Ms. Wheelchair CA 2009. I am now ecstatic to announce that Jennifer Kumiyama just placed 1st Runner Up at the national Ms. Wheelchair America 2011 pageant!!!! I could not be more proud of her as a contestant, a friend, and a sister.

Check out her blog here to read a little bit more about her winning. And here's how California has done in the past three years at Nationals (amazing!):

MWCC 2008, Shannon Coe - 1st Runner Up
MWCC 2009, Alyson Roth - 2nd Runner Up
MWCC 2010, Jennifer Kumiyama - 1st Runner Up

Way to keep in the Top 5 for the past three years ladies!!! I am SO HAPPY!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ms. Wheelchair CA 2010, Jennifer Kumiyama, at the Ms. Wheelchair America Nationals!

Hi everybody!! Can I just tell you how excited I am to have my 1st Runner Up who was then crowned Ms. Wheelchair California 2010 at Nationals right now?! If you have Facebook, you can keep up with her activities by clicking here. Be her friend!

The Ms. Wheelchair America pageant is being held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I'm putting a strong vote in for Jennifer to win! Her bubbly attitude, spirit, and personality along with all of the advocacy she has done will surely land her in at least the Top 5!

Here is a link to a news interview she was in this morning alongside Ms. Wheelchair Michigan on the local news in Grand Rapids:

I am so proud of all Jennifer has done - representing and carrying on the fabulous tradition of great title holders from California!

On Saturday, you can watch the live crowning by going to this link.

Good Luck, Jennifer!!! I know you'll do great!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The New Ms. Wheelchair California 2010!!

Congratulations to Jennifer Kumiyama, the new Ms. Wheelchair California 2010! Though she will always be 1st Runner Up in the 2009 pageant, I am extremely proud of her for becoming my successor! Margarita Elizondo placed 1st Runner Up in the Ms. Wheelchair California 2010 pageant.

You can follow Jennifer's journey as Ms. Wheelchair California 2010 by clicking here.

Much luck and lots of love, Jennifer!

Ms. Wheelchair California 2010 Pageant

My final journey and weekend of being Ms. Wheelchair California 2009 was definitely bittersweet. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the ladies who were vying for the next spot as Ms. Wheelchair California, and I also enjoyed getting to see friends whom I've gained throughout this past year. It was so enjoyable!
I was able to help encourage and coach each lady through what the judges were looking for and expected as well as calm some nerves and answer questions about the year to come.
What a blessing it was this year to be featured in the upcoming documentary called "Defining Beauty: More than a Crown and a Sash." I'm so excited to see the final product!
Listening to some of the ladies' platform speeches was very encouraging as each clearly had a focus and platform that they believed in.
PMTD/Flexiciser is a fantastic sponsor of the Ms. Wheelchair California program, and each winner is allowed to have one in her home for the entire year of her reign. I absolutely loved having the opportunity to use this wonderful movement therapy device as it helped decrease my spasms, reduced my nerve pain, and allowed my muscles to relax after a long day of appearances. I couldn't wait to get home off the airplane and get right into this amazing machine!
Erika Bogan, Ms. Wheelchair America 2010, was able to be with us at the Abilities Expo during our pageant. How exciting to have the actual "queen" with us!
Some of the ladies preparing for the crowning!
A surprise visit from the newly crowned Ms. Wheelchair Washington came to visit!
I couldn't have asked for a better year than the year I held the title of Ms. Wheelchair California 2009. I have enjoyed every moment, each person I've met, and the memories that will truly last a lifetime. Thank you to each and every one of you who supported me and encouraged me along the way, and a special thanks to the Ms. Wheelchair California and Ms. Wheelchair America Board for allowing me this opportunity.
Don't forget, though, this isn't the end!! I still hold my 2nd Runner Up to Ms. Wheelchair America 2010 title through the end of August 2010! :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ms. Wheelchair California 2009 Farwell Speech

My year as Ms. Wheelchair California 2009 was a blast, and I have many, many wonderful memories from such a successful year. Thank you to everyone who encouraged and supported me. I was honored with the title of 2nd Runner Up at Ms. Wheelchair America 2010 in August, and I look forward to the years ahead as to what doors and paths open up next for me! Thank you everyone! Enjoy the video!

Friday, April 9, 2010

PMTD Movement Gala

I was excited to be a part of the Physical Movement Therapy Device (PMTD) Movement Therapy Gala (Flexiciser) on April 8th at the Marriott in downtown Los Angeles. Wonderful people, great food, contagious laughter, and an amazing medical movement device called the Flexiciser makes for one amazing evening! I was honored to sit at one of the head tables with the President of Flexiciser, Bryan Mallidine, as well as some friends of mine.
The director, Alexis Ostrander, of the upcoming documentary, "Defining Beauty: More than a Crown and a Sash" was there as well, so we got our picture taken in front of the "famous background".
Sitting with me at the table was Dr. Suzy Kim who was awarded the "Medical Practitioner Excellence Award." Though I don't see her as "Dr. Suzy Kim," I was so proud of her! I know her from surfing!! So seeing each other dressed up was a rarity, as we are usually in wetsuits alongside each other.

Another great friend is Madonna Long of Cloe Magazine. We had so many laughs that night!
I was also honored to sit alongside Erica Davis who recently (February 2010) conquered Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania... in a wheelchair! Simply amazing and awe inspiring!

Richard Kiel was honored with an award as well, and while up on the stage sharing his story, my jaw dropped as I heard his story. We both suffered disabilities while leaving Yosemite National Park. We chatted for quite some time as we shared similar stories, and he is a born again Christian. He is a great guy and sincerely enjoyed meeting him. In case you don't recognize him, he was "Jaws" in the "The Spy Who Loved Me" among many others like "The Giant of Thunder Mountain" and "Happy Gilmore."
Thank you for such a special night of wonderful inspiration!