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Ms. Wheelchair America makes a comeback

Grand Rapids, MI – Thirty contestants from across the country are grateful to participate in this year’s 50th Annual Ms. Wheelchair America competition. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation, and it seemed history might repeat itself again. Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital leaders couldn’t let that happen. The two organizations combined forces to let the show go on – virtually – as Ms. Wheelchair America presented by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation.

Judges of the Ms. Wheelchair Pageant

Judges and officials of the Ms. Wheelchair Pageant and Mary Free Bed CEO Kent Riddle

Ms. Wheelchair America judges look for the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for people with disabilities. Before arriving at the national level, the 30 participants were selected as titleholders in their state. A panel of judges reviewed essays submitted by each woman to be reviewed in the national competition. This week, the contestants will be interviewed virtually by five judges and deliver a prepared platform presentation.

The competition runs Aug. 9-14 with virtual workshops on leadership training, self-care and advocacy. Participants also connect with each other to share experiences. The final two evening events are open to public and will be available to watch on social media. On Friday night (8/13), contestants will share their platforms, and the winner will be announced on Saturday (8/14).

More than 64 million Americans live with disabilities. The 50th Annual Ms. Wheelchair America presented by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation spotlights these accomplished women and helps us all see beyond disabilities.

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About Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation

Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since 1891, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults with brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses, including COVID-19. The combination of more than 110 specialized medical and sports rehabilitation programs and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables our specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve extraordinary clinical results. Established in 2011, the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network extends rehabilitation expertise to more than three dozen acute-care hospitals in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Mary Free Bed also manages rehabilitation care for 400-plus inpatient beds and an extensive outpatient system.

About Ms. Wheelchair America

Ms. Wheelchair America, Inc. is a non-profit organization that relies solely on the dedication and hard work of volunteers all across the country, fundraising by contestants, and the help of local sponsors. While many pageants are now becoming less about beauty and appearance and more about a woman’s acumen, Ms. Wheelchair America has built a unique tradition of focusing on women’s accomplishments and advocacy since 1972.

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