Calhoun resident Rebecca Lee wants the world to know that people with disabilities can live normal lives. Winning the title of Ms. Wheelchair Georgia 2003 at Saturday's pageant in Columbus, she said, gives her a platform to help reach her goal.
"I want everyone to know that just because you have a disability doesn't mean you can't live a normal life," she said. Contestants were judged on accomplishments since the onset of their disability, communication skills and self-perception/projection.
Through her work as Ms. Wheelchair Georgia, Lee said, she hopes to reach people with all kinds of disabilities. "I want to raise awareness with people with disabilities to show them they can overcome any obstacles," Lee said. "There are so many things out there that they can still do. I live a normal life. I can do everything everyone else can do except walk. "I work at home. I pick up my kids. I volunteer," she added.
Lee has lived with multiple sclerosis for seven years and is now a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Teesha and John. She is married to Michael Lee and is the daughter of Bobby and Marilyn Parker of Calhoun. She said she has been active - through her volunteer work - in the fight against multiple sclerosis and volunteers for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, Gordon Hospital and the choral department at Gordon High School.
Lee will compete in the national competition in July 2003 and will attend this year's national pageant. Lee was not the only pageant winner from Greater Rome.
In the Junior Ms. Wheelchair Pageant, Armuchee resident Amy Jo Laffoon,
14, received the People's Choice Award for raising the most money for the
pageant. Laffoon also received the "best character adaptation" award for
the Marilyn Monroe costume she wore to the pageant's Masquerade Ball. She
also won an award for her creativity in creating a pillow for a pajama
party. Laffoon is the daughter of Doug and Debra Laffoon of Armuchee. Lauren
"Kate" Loftin of Bethlehem won the Junior Ms. Wheelchair title.