Miss You Can Do It

Last month’s coronation of Miss Iowa, Nicole Kelly, was very exciting as Kelly will be the first one-armed contestant for Miss USA.

Kelly, however, cannot claim the title of first disabled contestant on Miss USA. That title goes to Abbey Curran, the 2008 Miss Iowa.

Miss Iowa Abbey Curran at Miss USA

You read that right. I triple checked; they were both crowned in IOWA. There is something very special in the state of the wild rose.

Abbey Curran has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy and has some trouble with muscle coordination required for walking. A high-school teacher told Curran that she could not compete in beauty pageants because of her disability, and that was motivation enough to prove them wrong!

In her royal wake, Curran founded a non-profit which allows girls ages 5-25 to compete in a special pageant: Miss You Can Do It. This year marks the 10th annual pageant for disabled women built upon Curran’s belief that you can accomplish great things when you try.

And boy is Curran an example of that! She was told that disabled girls cannot participate in beauty pageants and she turned that idea on it’s head!

Miss You Can Do It - Big Dreams, Little Wishes, Major Triumphs

This incredible pageant and it’s beautiful founder are featured in an HBO documentary airing this summer. Here’s their summary:

Miss You Can Do It highlights the extraordinary work Curran is doing with the pageant she founded. Curran and a team of enthusiastic volunteers give participants a chance to be celebrated for all they are inside, not just defined by what the world sees on the outside. For one special weekend the young girls, along with family and friends, some who have traveled far distances, spend time in an oasis of fun, femininity and celebration.

No one leaves the pageant empty-handed, with each girl receiving a special award. The real winners of the pageant might be the families and friends, who proudly cheer them on from the audience.

Watch Abbey Curran’s interview with Ellen Degeneres to get a glimpse of how awesome she is and all things she touches. I introduce the original Miss You Can Do It!!

Your weaknesses are your strengths

Finding the humor in your struggles is insanely difficult. People like Jack Carroll make it look easy, but it’s not.

Jack Carroll is a 14 year old with cerebral palsy and a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent.

  • The judges even say that his age and disability aside, he is a comedy genius (boy did they get that right!).
  • His parents say he’s not as concerned about his cerebral palsy as he is about making people laugh.
  • He says…well, you’d better watch for yourself:

Speed racer

Last month I told you all about a program I’m involved with and am super excited about–in this post–where I get to train and run a race to raise money and awareness for my disease. It was an empowering experience for me. (If you might be interested in doing a similar program, you should read that post. 😉 )

The reason I bring it up again is because a great story was posted on our Facebook Page recently that took my experience and then brought it to a whole new level!!

Dick Hoyt became a father, in 1962, to Rick who has cerebral palsy. In 1977, Rick wanted to do a 5 mile charity run. His father pushed him across the finish-line and Rick told him that he didn’t feel disabled when they were running. Dick, who was not in the best shape and didn’t have the easiest time with the 5 mile race, was forever changed by those words.

Team Hoyt racing

Since then, Dick and Rick Hoyt have completed over 1,000 races!! That included 70 marathons and 6 Ironmans (as of a year ago). Dad pushes son during the running leg, bikes with him on an adapted 2 seater bike, and tows him in an inflatable raft. Together they completed a marathon in 2:40–just 35 minutes behind the world record!!

They started a non-profit in 1989: The Hoyt Foundation. It promotes inclusion and builds self-esteem in disabled youth. They also have endurance programs to raise money for their non-profit. It is just like the program I’m participating in and wrote about.

The Hoyt men are the epiphany of what it is to be a World Travailler. They’ve gone to and done things most able bodied people could never dream of accomplishing. They did them no despite the disability, but more to conquer it! Rick didn’t feel disabled on these adventures. Most American’s have barely traveled their own country; I’d guess the average American has been to maybe 5 states. The Hoyt’s ran and biked across the entire country in 45 days.

They have the travailler spirit!!

I think is so important to share. I can’t imagine a single person who wouldn’t be moved or inspired by it.

If you think you can handle it, here’s a video of their story. It’s a real tear jerker: