An Edmonton trailblazer has her sights set on a world competition after recently making history nationally.
Forty-two-year-old Vahen King won the first-ever Miss Wheelchair Canada pageant earlier this month in Vancouver, and now she’s aiming for Miss Wheelchair World.
King’s journey to winning the Canadian title wasn’t fast or easy. She went through years of effort to turn pain into power.
At 24 years old, she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis – a neurological disorder caused by inflammation in the spinal cord.
“They said she’s never gonna walk again. We’re gonna send her to long term care and she’s gonna need full time care forever,” King said.
Instead, King’s family doctor pushed for rehabilitation therapies. Meanwhile, King pushed her loved ones away because she thought her life was over.
“For a long time, I felt like this was my disability, but up here was my biggest disability,” King said as she pointed to her head.
“Fear and all these things held me back.”
Now, she’s an author, life coach and motivational speaker.
WATCH BELOW: Edmonton’s Vahen King is the first Miss Wheelchair Canada winner, and now she’s aiming for the world crown. Her journey is one of inspiration.
When King’s friends suggested she enter the inaugural Canadian event, the 42-year-old figured she was too old for beauty pageants. But she changed her mind when she realized she could have an impact.
“It was more than just a crown and a title; it was my voice is now being made bigger,” King said.
King feels the worst thing that happened to her turned out to be the best.
At the Miss Wheelchair World pageant next month in Poland, she plans to advocate for better supports for people who are newly disabled.
“We have an opportunity to represent not only persons with disabilities, but anyone who’s ever felt unworthy, unloved or felt less than,” King said.
WATCH: We first featured Vahen King before she travelled to Poland to compete in this year’s Miss Wheelchair World. Back home with a new title to her name, she joined us on Global News Morning on Oct. 19, 2017.
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