Sheboygan County (WBAY) -- A Wisconsin woman is set to represent the entire state at the Ms. Wheelchair America national competition later this month.
In February of this year, Myranda Gereau’s dreams finally came true, when she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin.
“I found out about this when I was 16, and I’ve been looking forward to it since. It is finally happening,” Gereau says. “So it was kind of like, ‘Am I dreaming? Is this really happening?’ It kind of took me a week or so to realize, 'Yeah, I'm Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin. This is awesome.'"
When she was born, Gereau was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, causing muscle weakness across her body. But from the start, she was already defying the odds.
“They told me I wasn’t going to be able to talk at all on my own, and I said, ‘No, watch me. I’m going to do it,’” Gereau recalls. “And I did it.”
Gereau was originally told she would never walk, but walked for the first 10 years of her life. After that, Gereau had two different tubes inserted into her trachea, and was told she would never speak or eat alone. Both times, Gereau prevailed.
“It can sometimes suck to be in a wheelchair or to have a disability, but you can do whatever you want,” Gereau says. “Don't let anyone tell you you can't.”
Now, she’s using her Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin title to spread that message to a larger audience.
“I would really like other people to know that they are able to do things no matter what type of disability you have,” she says. “Even though it's not the quote on quote ‘normal’ way of doing it.”
Next Sunday, Gereau heads to Eerie, Pennsylvania for the Ms. Wheelchair America national competition. There, she will compete against 24 other Ms. Wheelchair titleholders, for the chance to wear the national crown.
“All I can do is try my best and have fun with it, is honestly the way I'm thinking about it,” she says.
If I win this, great. But if I don't, I guess ... I'm still doing what I love. And I still want to get my platform out there.”
Gereau continues to maintain her platform “We Are Able,” stressing anything is possible for anyone, and to treat others the way you want to be treated.
“I think people just need to know that yes, I’m disabled. But I still have my mind. I can still talk, I can still communicate with you,” Gereau says. “That's what I also want other people to know that are not disabled. It's okay to ask questions.”
The Ms. Wheelchair America will be crowned on August 19. Currently, only 25 states participate in the competition. Gereau says if she wins, she’ll begin work to expand the program across the entire country.
Ahead of the competition, you can help Gereau win the People's Choice Award. Follow the link to cast your vote for Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin.