SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The 51st annual Ms. Wheelchair America National Competition will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan from Aug. 13-21, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Throughout the week women, representing states across the country, will be judged based on their ability to make a difference for the more than 56 million Americans living with disabilities. The competition will culminate with a crowning gala on Aug. 20, where Ms. Wheelchair America 2022 will be crowned.
Ms. Wheelchair America has built a unique tradition of focusing on women’s accomplishments and advocacy since 1972. It is not a beauty competition.
Representing the state of New York in the Ms. Wheelchair America Competition will be Heather Horwedel. Horwedel uses a wheelchair for mobility because she has Spina Bifida. However, she does not let the circumstances stop her. She lives life to the fullest and aims to shine a positive light on disabilities. Through advocacy and education, she sets an example for other individuals who also use wheelchairs for mobility.
Currently, Horwedel lives in Schenectady and holds the title of Ms. Wheelchair New York 2022. Horwedel volunteers at the Spina Bifida Association of Northeastern New York and Double H Ranch. She studied early childhood education at Schenectady County Community College. Throughout her reign as Ms. Wheelchair New York, she will raise awareness about her platform which focuses on ability awareness. In her spare time, she enjoys arts and crafts, working out, and being outdoors.
Before the Crowning Gala Horwedel, along with 21 other contestants, will spend one week participating in a “Leadership Conference” composed of a rigorous schedule of mentoring, workshops, and private and public presentations, including their platform speech presentation and on-stage questions. These activities will provide each contestant with resources to become stronger disability advocates. It will also allow each contestant the opportunity to demonstrate how they have advocated, influenced, changed policies, or in some way made their voice be heard on issues impacting people with disabilities.
This year, the national competition also includes a People’s Choice Award. For just $1 per vote, you can choose your favorite contestant on the Ms. Wheelchair America website.