Miss Wheel­chair Canada ready for world

She’ll com­pete against 23 oth­ers from 15 coun­tries

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - News - Kash­mala Fida

When a friend sug­gested Va­hen King en­ter a beauty pageant, she wasn’t sure it was a good idea.

Af­ter all, she’s over 40 and was a to­tal new­bie to the run­way. Also, she uses a wheel­chair.

“Hon­estly I wasn’t sure if it was for me,” she said. But when the first Miss Wheel­chair Canada com­pe­ti­tion was an­nounced, she de­cided that, win or lose, she might be able to up­end some of the stereo­types about what a per­son us­ing a wheel­chair can do.

King, 44, went to Van­cou­ver last week and won, be­com­ing the first per­son to take home the ti­tle. “I was over­whelmed with emo­tion,” she told Metro.

Now, she’s get­ting ready to head to War­saw, Poland next month to represent Canada in Miss Wheel­chair World.

“I know that not every­one likes to be in pageant but it’s im­por­tant to me be­cause you have an op­por­tu­nity for me to change the stigma, change the per­spec­tive of a per­son with a dis­abil­ity,” she told Metro.

“I had an op­por­tu­nity to share a lit­tle bit of who I am, and that was im­por­tant to me so that’s kind of how I de­cided to pur­sue this.”

King was di­ag­nosed with Trans­verse Myeli­tis in 1999 right af­ter her en­gage­ment to her now hus­band.

“As a per­son with dis­abil­ity I didn’t re­ally do that well, I pushed peo­ple away and headed down a wrong path and ended up al­most de­stroy­ing my mar­riage and my faith in God,” she said.

Even­tu­ally, she made a de­ci­sion to stop feel­ing in­se­cure and take con­trol of her life, she said. Now she is an au­thor, mo­ti­va­tional speaker, life coach and a li­censed min­is­ter.

She com­peted against three other women, one from Al­berta and two from Bri­tish Columbia.

“There were a lot of prov­inces not rep­re­sented,” she said, adding that orig­i­nally there were seven con­tes­tants but some of them dropped out be­fore the ac­tual pageant.

“Hope­fully next year there will be more.”

King will be travelling to Poland on Sept. 27th to com­pete in Miss Wheel­chair World against 23 other con­tes­tants from 15 coun­tries.

She said she ex­cited for an op­por­tu­nity she be­lieves she was born to do.

“It’s not just a sash or pageant type of thing, I get to travel and tell peo­ple what I’m about,” she said. “I get to in­spire other peo­ple who are go­ing through their tragic sit­u­a­tion.”

Cana­di­ans can vote for her to win on the Miss Wheel­chair World web­site.

I had an op­por­tu­nity to share a lit­tle bit of who I am, and that was im­por­tant to me so that’s kind of how I de­cided to pur­sue this. Va­hen King on the pageant

VA­HEN KING/ SUB­MIT­TED

Va­hen King, 44, is the first Miss Wheel­chair Canada.

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