2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington

2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington
Nicole Martini

Message from Meg about trip to Ms. Wheelchair America 2009

Hello All,

It's been a few months since I posted last - I have recovered from the thrilling but draining experience of participating in the national Ms. Wheelchair America pageant in Washington DC. It was an awesome experience and I could not be happier with the results. Ms. W/C Texas - Michelle Colvard - earned the title of Ms. W/C America and she was definitely the person I would most like to have representing my community. She and I have the same disability - spina bifida - so we had much in common and spent the week getting to know each other and sharing like experiences. She is an awesome "roll" model for our community and advocates out of the Houston, Texas Mayor's office.

The week was filled with interviews, group activities, educational workshops and fun theme nights. The experiences left me proud of my community and built character in personal ways that will serve me the rest of my life.

I want to thank all of those people who supported (and continue to support) me - I know that the person I am is just as important as the efforts I have made in the area of advocacy. My WA State MWW Coordinator, Tammy Wilber, was there every step of the way and I could not have taken this on without her unconditional support.

I look forward to staying involved with the program even after I pass the crown and title on to the next Ms. W/C WA - it's an awesome program of advocacy and achievement and does so much to help change the perceptions of women who are wheelchair users.


Ms. Wheelchair Washington Featured in Logan Magazine

MS. WHEELCHAIR WASHINGTON, MEG PAULSEN IS FEATURED IN THE 2008 SUMMER ISSUE OF Logan Magazine, which is a publication for Young People with Disabilities
The Misson of Logan Magazine is to inspire, encourage and inform people with disabilities about how to live a lifestyle that is productive, purposeful and pleasurable.
You can learn more about Logan magazine or you subscribe for 4 issues a year for just $14.00 click here: http://www.loganmagazine.com/subscribe.html

People First of WA Event

On the final day of the Ellensburg Employment Conference, I was invited to attend an event put on by People First of WA http://www.peoplefirstofwashington.org/ - it was their annual Self Advocacy In Motion (SAM) - Youth Leadership Retreat Program. I had the honor of saying of few words of welcome for the 20 some high school students with disabilities. I mentioned that there were no programs such as theirs when I was growing up and how much I admired their commitment to advocate for themselves and their community. I had just attended an awesome workshop on leadership at the conference and these kids were utilizing the exact methods suggested to become the strongest of leaders in our communities. The people first organization echoes my platform of people being recognized as people first and not defined by the physical situations they happen to be in. We ended the evening with a viewing of an awesome video titled "Right to Risk" that chronicals the adventure of eight people with significant disabilities on a 15 day, 225 mile whitewater rafting through Arizona's Grand Canyon - check out the website at www.righttorisk.org. The executive producer, Kathleen Jo Ryan introduced the video and I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her adventures as she was on the journey also.

Article published by Meg Paulsen in NRRTS Directions

When Meg traveled to Capitol Hill back in April with TiLite she was asked to write an article for a magazine called NRRTS Directions.

HERE IS THE WEBSITE LINK TO READ MEG'S ARTICLE TITLED: LIFE ON WHEELS - DID I GIVE YOU A STARTLE?" http://www.nrrts.org/Directions/directions%20vol%203%202008.pdf (The article is on page 8 – 10 and and then there are more photos of her on page 19 and 21)
ABOUT THE MAGAZINE DIRECTIONS: This magazine called Directions is the official magazine of the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers. The publication is mailed out five times annually and reaches more than 2000 industry professionals, including over 800 skilled, influential and rehab-focused Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
To find out more about this publication or to learn about NRRTS (the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers) you can visit their website at: http://www.nrrts.org/

Ellensburg Employment Conference - June

The WSBLN sent me to the 31st Ellensburg Employment Conference that highlights supported employment for people with developmental disabilities and was sponsored by Washington Initiatives for Supported Employment (W.I.S.E.). This group came together once again for three days to create a unification of committed people, people that turn the possibilities of employment for people with disabilities into reality. The title of the conference was "Entertain the Possibilities" and the workshops centered around adaptive technology and new trends in supported employment practices. Evening entertainment included winner of NBC's Last Comic Standing - Josh Blue who has cerebral palsy and was frequently profane in a very funny and entertaining way - he had us rolling even more than us wheelchair users usually do!

Spinal Cord Society Auction - June

I have volunteered many times at the SCS Golf Tournament and Auction as it's a very well run event and gives me a change of perspective - their motto is "Cure, Not Care" and every cent they raise goes to the research of curing spinal cord injuries. SCS is a large grass roots organization linked by a monthly Newsletter, and thousands of members throughout North America and other countries. Its goal is cure of chronic spinal cord injury paralysis. SCS is an organization of the spinal cord injured, their families and friends, and dedicated scientists and physicians who are aiming at the ultimate goal of cure through improved treatment and research.
Here is a link to their website: http://www.scsnw.com/

Meg Paulsen travels to Washington D.C. with TiLite

Back in April, when Meg Paulsen, Ms. Wheelchair Washington was invited by the folks at TiLite (http://www.tilite.com/) to attend a conference called CELA (Continuing Education and Legislative Advocacy Conference) in Washington D.C. she had the chance to be apart of a conference to meet with people on Capitol Hill.
The 2008 Continuing Education and Legislative Advocacy Conference (CELA) was held April 23-25, and offered rehab professionals the opportunity to both earn CEUs and lobby on Capitol Hill. The Hill visits are part of CELA 08, a combined educational and legislative advocacy event that brought over 120 suppliers, therapists, manufacturers and consumers to Washington to push for support of H.R. 2231, which would carve out complex rehab from the DMEPOS bidding program.

Four Ms. Wheelchair Washington's celebrate May birthdays

From left to right:
Ms. Wheelchair Washington 1997, 2007 & 2008
(missing is 2006- I'm taking the photo)

Last year as I held the first Ms. Wheelchair Washington Pageant and Sigrid Laegreid was crowned in 2007 I found out her birthday was a day after mine. I also know that Ms. Wheelchair WA 1997 (who went on to win Ms. Wheelchair America in 1998) had a birthday in May. Ironically, the 2008 title holder was also a May baby. So on May 24Th, four unique and different women who have all held title of Ms. Wheelchair WA and the current 2008 titleholder, gathered for a birthday celebration on a beautiful Sunday at the Cheesecake factory.

So, happy birthday to
2008 Ms. Wheelchair WA, Meg Paulsen - May 1st
1997 Ms. Wheelchair WA, Elaine Stefanowicz - May 5Th
2006 Ms. Wheelchair WA, Tammy Wilber - May 7Th
2007 Ms. Wheelchair WA, Sigrid Laegreid - May 8Th

SCI Forum at the University of Washington Medical Center


On June 10Th, Meg Paulsen, Ms. Wheelchair Washington attends the Spinal Cord Injury Forum Mobility Fair at the University of Washington Medical Center
(Featured in photo: (on left, SCI Forum attendee and Meg on the right, visit the VARILITE table http://www.varilite.com/)

The SCI Forum is a monthly evening educational program for persons with SCI and their friends, family members and caregivers, held at the UW Medical Center. The forums provide current information on a variety of topics relevant to the SCI community, such as maintaining good nutrition, bladder management, assistive technology, fertility after SCI, recreational activities and recovery research. Forum presentations are summarized into written reports, and selected forums are videotaped for viewing as streaming video on the Web site.

She had a chance to meet new people with disabilities from all other and meet local vendors and organizations that provides services for people with disabilities in Washington State. To find out more information about the monthly Spinal Cord Injury Forums held at the University of Washington Medical Center visit their website at: http://sci.washington.edu/info/forums/

For more information about SCI Forums, contact Cynthia Salzman at mail to: csalzman@u.washington.edu or 206-685-3999.

How to make a donation to Ms. Wheelchair Washington Program

On behalf of Meg Paulsen, Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2008 and the Ms. Wheelchair Washington Program

Up until now I have paid out of pocket for the Ms. Wheelchair Washington Pageant and I have also had some out of pocket expenses to help Meg, Ms. Wheelchair WA 2008 to help her get started on her journey. Meg is getting ready to compete in the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant at the end of July in Rockville, MD and she has already sent in her deposit of $1500, which covers hotel accommodations and meals for a week for her and a companion. Meg has already paid for this trip herself,plus the plane tickets.

Now it is time to ask for your support! If you would like to make a contribution to Meg Paulsen, Ms. Wheelchair Washington and assist her in getting to the national Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant it would be greatly appreciated.

Your donation is tax-deductible and you will be sent a receipt/letter with the Ms. Wheelchair Washington Program non-profit identification number. Here is how a tax deductible donation to the Meg Paulsen and the Ms. Wheelchair Washington Pageant.

How to make a donation:

1) Checks only, please
2) Make the check out to Meg Paulsen
3) In the memo line write "Donation to Ms. Wheelchair Washington"
4) Please mail the check to:
Meg Paulsen, Ms. Wheelchair Washington
18742 144th. Ave. NE # 102
Woodinville, WA 98072

Thank you so much for your support. I have kept this program going financially because I believe in the mission of the Ms. Wheelchair Washington Program and giving women with disabilities an amazing year to grow, learn and be a strong advocate for people of Washington with all disabilities.

Thank you,
Tammy Wilber
State Coordinator
Past Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2006

State Pageant Coordinator Meets Ms. Wheelchair America 2008


I recently just got back from Anaheim, CA where I attended a tradeshow for people with disabilities called the Abilities Expo. (http://www.abilitiesexpo.com/). While it is a great tradeshow to attend to find out about the latest products and services for people with disabilities I also got a chance to meet the current 2008 Ms. Wheelchair America, Kristen McCosh. She was there promoting the importance of Physical Fitness for people with Disabilities. She is doing an amazing job representing the 52 million Americans with Disabilities. To learn more about Kristen McCosh, Ms. Wheelchair America check out her website: http://www.mswheelchairamerica08.blogspot.com/ or email her at mswheelchairamerica08@yahoo.com

OutdoorsForAll Golf Tournament & Silent Auction

On June 2nd I attended the OutdoorsForAll annual golf tournament and silent action. I have been involved with OutdoorsForAll (formerly SkiForAll) http://www.outdoorsforall.org/ for many years - they taught me how to cross country ski! I love the energy of the organization and the recreational opportunities they offer are phenomenal!! I look forward to volunteering at their Gala Auction in the Fall - a wonderful event that is always exciting and inspiring! Click on their link under "My Fun" and learn just how fun it is!

Mobility Project Auction

On May 31st I attended an fundraiser for the Mobility Project - http://www.mobilityproject.org/ - a volunteer organization that refurbishes wheelchairs and sends them to people in third world countries. Jenny Smith created an amazing slide show of the organization's travels throughout the world and highlighted the amazing people that the chairs were donated to. Please contact me to find out how you can donate a chair! Here I am pictured with Miss Kingston and her Princess who also volunteered at the auction.

PROVAIL Fundraiser - May

I had a great time volunteering at the 2008 PROVAIL auction - it was their first and was really well done. Tammy and I handed out bidder packets and then had a fantastic dinner while joining in on the auction action w/ local celebs Meeghan Black and Pat Cashman. PROVAIL is celebrating their 65th anniversary of providing people with disabilities the dignity, choice, opportunity and independence that everyone deserves. Check out their website at http://www.provail.org/. Here I am pictured with Meeghan Black (middle) and Tammy Wilber (on Right)