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Kristian Champion, Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina, Local Leader in Access Improvements (June 20, 2012)

In March 2012, Kristian Champion was crowned Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina in the state’s annual pageant competition. Since then, she has dedicated her time in support of advocating herself and supporting accessibility as a cause.

Champion, 21, was born with spina bifida and has lived in a wheelchair for the majority of her life. Despite her physical disability, Champion has lived a very independent life and loves participating in sports, spending time with friends and recently earning her degree in public relations at Gardner-Webb University. Much of her can-do attitude is attributed to her mother, Cheryl.

“My biggest fear was for her to be unable,” Cheryl Champion said. “I want her to be able to take care of herself and to be as independent as possible.”

“If you don’t have the support that you need, you won’t grow,” Kristian added.

Since her crowning, Champion has been responsible for many updates and changes making her community more wheelchair-friendly. This includes an elevator in her elementary school, ramp installations in other area schools as well as rack modifications at stores just to name a few.

Next up for Champion is the national competition in August which she acknowledges will be challenging. “I still have a long way to go … but I’m so excited for the journey!”

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