Photo by Layna Hendrich of PhotographyLayn

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Antelope Hunt

I am finally home for a few days before I take off again, so I wanted to take a few minutes and share with you all about my antelope hunt. It was an amazing experience! So many firsts for me- first time to hunt antelope, first time to harvest with a rifle from my personal wheelchair, first time to hunt with all women. Lots of firsts that I will definitely repeat.

Russ and I headed towards The Ranch at Ucross in Clearmont, Wyoming, on Thursday morning, October 9th, for the second annual Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt, hosted by the Wyoming Women's Foundation. We got checked in and unloaded our gear before heading to a safety meeting with the Wyoming Game & Fish reps. Once we finished, everyone met at the shooting range to site in our rifles. I had a loaner 6.5x284 from The Best of the West, and I really enjoy shooting it. It is accurate at long distances, with no recoil- my perfect firearm. I also practiced shooting from our Wyoming Disabled Hunters' Action Track Chair- another first!

At dinner that evening, I was honored to be asked to speak to the hunters, guides, and staff members present. It was a great opportunity to share my story, WDH, and adaptive equipment. Russ and I were also introduced to Mike Rodriguez, who would be our guide for the next few days. We settled on a time to leave in the morning, and headed back to our room to get some rest before our first day of hunting.

On Friday morning, we loaded up the Track Chair and all of our gear and headed out with Mike and Miranda, the other member of my hunting team. Mike owns a cattle ranch in the area, and he and his brothers manage several more, so we had lots of land to scout for antelope. We spent the entire morning chasing small herds of antelope, checking out the bucks that were available. We saw a few that we liked, and after a lunch break, we headed back out to see if we could get close enough to an elusive buck from that morning.

After more scouting, Mike spotted a buck in the hills that Miranda liked, so we parked the truck and they set off on foot to see if she could sneak up on the small group without being seen. Russ and I stayed in the truck, but we were able to watch from a distance as she harvested her antelope. So cool! I am not used to hunting on a team, so it was very exciting cheering for another woman providing for her family through hunting.

Russ headed out to help Mike with the field dressing and retrieval of the antelope, and then we took it back to the ranch to prepare it for processing. We went back out for a few hours, but didn't see anything worth pursuing, so we decided to hold off until the next day to continue my hunt.

Mike picked us up on Saturday morning after feeding his cattle, and the four of us headed back out. He had seen a few herds on a property we hadn't visited since early Friday morning, so we started scouting for a buck to take. After driving for a short while, and watching a few different antelope, I decided on a buck walking across the side of a hill about 400 yards from the truck. Mike and Miranda stayed in the truck while Russ and I unloaded and set up my rifle. I had planned on shooting from the Action Track Chair, but we didn't have much cover, and we were worried that the noise from unloading it would spook the animals.

Russ set up my shooting sticks and ranged the buck- I could see him through my scope at about 370 yards. I got settled in and waited for him to stop walking and stand still. I watched him stop for a while, and decided to take my shot. Just as I squeezed the trigger, he took another step forward. He went down, and would have bled out fairly quickly, but I don't like waiting and prolonging any suffering, so I squared up for another shot. He was down in some tall grass, so it was actually a tougher shot than the first, but I knew this time he wouldn't be moving. One through the heart and he passed immediately.

We loaded up in the Track Chair and headed out to retrieve my antelope. I was able to pull it back myself with the Track Chair- something I've never done before. Being so independent was a very empowering moment for me. We loaded up and headed back to the ranch, where Russ and I began the processing to take the meat home to Cody. Sausage time!

The majority of the ladies harvested over the two days of hunting- and some were hunting for the first time! The Wyoming Women's Foundation raised support and money to continue making a difference in the lives of women and girls throughout Wyoming. Women were empowered and taught economic self-sufficiency through hunting, and relationships were forged through friendship and mentoring. It was an amazing weekend.

I am always grateful for a successful harvest and the opportunity to provide meat for my family. I am also thankful for the new friends that I made and all of the "firsts" that I was able to experience. I will post a few pictures below. Head over to my YouTube channel to see some of the footage we shot with my GoPro camera for a personal vantage point!

Loading the Action Track Chair

With Miranda
Got him!

With Russ (L) and Mike (R)

Group shot on Saturday night

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Lord Led Me

"I being in the way, the Lord led me..." Genesis 24:27

Why is it, at least in my own life, that I am so surprised when God answers my prayers? When He follows through on His promises just as He said He would?

When I started this journey last year, I had no idea what was in store for me. I never could have imagined that God would use something as far out of my comfort zone as a pageant to start me down the path He had for me. But here I sit, with some very exciting news, that could only have been orchestrated by His hand.

I just returned from a Mommy-only shopping trip to Billings for some pre-hunting goodies. It just so happened that today was "Ladies' Day Out" at our Cabella's store, and the discounts were amazing. It was a great day to be a girl! They were even giving out free fudge and Ghirardelli squares. It was heavenly. I found some new camo that will keep me warm and protected next week on my antelope hunt, and I also scored a great price on a new toy that leads me to my first piece of exciting news...

I am starting my own YouTube channel. Wahoo! This has been, literally, years in the making. Thanks to my new GoPro camera and head strap, I will be uploading videos of hunting and other outdoor recreation, as well as every-day wheelchair life stuff. People are constantly asking me how I drive, shop, cook, etc., so I thought it would be easier to show you and anyone else that might benefit from it. So if you have suggestions for videos, please send them to me at, and I will do my best to get up a video! They will all be shot in a "through my eyes" angle, so I hope they will be both educational and entertaining.

Moving on to my next piece of exciting news... Crowns 4 Christ! We are launching this new ministry, which includes many of the past/current Ms. Wheelchair USA winners. Our first event will be held on Saturday, October 25th at Cornerstone Church in Akron, Ohio. One evening- several inspirational speakers. If you would be interested in hosting The Unbroken Tour 2014 in your city, please contact Lowery Lockard/Ms. Wheelchair USA at 330-612-5242 or email at

Russ and I leave for Buffalo on Thursday morning for the Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt. I will post pictures as we go, and hopefully upload my first video when we get back. Prayers for safety and a successful harvest would be much appreciated. So thankful for all of the blessings in my life!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Exciting Announcements!

Autumn is definitely my favorite time of year. Cooler weather, boots, pumpkin flavored everything, fall colors, and HUNTING SEASON! I didn't think my hunting experience from last fall could get any better, but I was recently asked to be a special guest hunter at the second annual Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt next month- wahoo! This hunt is put on by the Wyoming Women's Foundation, a non-profit that invests in the economic self- sufficiency of women and the future of girls. How amazing is that? Russ and I will going over towards Sheridan, Wyoming, for this event, and I couldn't be more excited!

Some of the great parts of this hunt are the camaraderie that is built between the women, as well as the life-skills that are taught and encouraged. We hunt together, and then there are workshops that teach women about processing and cooking their wild game to feed their families. So much more fun than the grocery store! Fresh, organic, inexpensive meat has always been one of my favorite things about hunting, and that same motivation is spreading across the country as the number of women hunters is increasing each year. I can't wait to teach Addison all about this awesome privilege that she can one day experience for herself.

I am also excited to announce some other big news. I am officially launching my inspirational speaking business. The Lord has opened up so many doors for this opportunity since I won Ms. Wheelchair USA 2013-2014, and I am thrilled to see where He is going to lead me next. You can find more information at my new website, Check it out and let me know what you think, and if you know of a speaking opportunity, please let me know!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Challenged Athletes Foundation & Friends of Pathways

For some time, I have wanted to get involved in handcycling. Addison loves to ride her bike, and I thought it would be a great family activity, as well as good exercise. And I am always looking for more ways to enjoy accessible outdoor recreation! I am also interested in eventually participating in some kind of organized cycle race, so I thought I should try out the sport and see how it went recreationally before I made the jump to competitions.

I had known about The Challenged Athletes Foundation for many years, but had never hit the application deadlines at the right time.  Founded in 1997, their mission is to "provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. The Challenged Athletes Foundation believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life." It doesn't get much better than that!

I applied for funding for a handcycle last fall, and found out in April that I had been chosen to receive the grant- wahoo! This great organization awarded nearly 1500 grants totaling over $3 million in 2014. If you would like more information, please visit their website here. The 2015 application process will open September 1, 2014.

Being awarded my handcycle couldn't have come at a better time, as I received an invitation from Friends of Pathways to participate in their annual Access August event in Jackson, Wyoming. Friends of Pathways is a non-profit organization created in 1994 that "supports a vibrant community by advocating the completion of a safe and sustainable pathways system for healthy recreation and transportation opportunities in Jackson Hole." The pathway system that has been created between Jackson and Grand Teton National Park is amazing- such a great way to actively enjoy God's creation.

This two-part event includes a Celebration Ride followed by a BBQ at Dornan's Resort. The ride is held every year in memory of Gabriella Axelrad, a 13-year old who was tragically struck and killed while cycling with her family in Grand Teton in 1999. Gabriella's family was involved in the ride as well as the program that followed. They are amazing people, and have chosen extraordinary ways to honor the memory of their daughter and continue her legacy. You can learn more about the Axelrads here.

Russ, Addison and I took off on Friday evening and drove through Yellowstone to get to Jackson. Our room for the weekend was provided by The Lexington at Jackson Hole, and it was beautiful. More importantly, it was very accessible, which is always a plus! We spent Saturday kayaking on Jenny Lake, which was a special way to celebrate the 15th anniversary of my accident. We love to kayak, and I am glad to be passing on the enjoyment to Addison. Russ also got in some fly fishing, and Addison and I splashed around in the crystal clear water. We enjoyed a double-anniversary dinner at Nani's, as Russ and I celebrated 8 years of marriage on July 29th. I have a weakness for good gnocchi alfredo, and Nani's did not disappoint!

Sunday dawned as a bright and beautiful day for the ride. We started from Windy Point right inside Grand Teton National Park. I rode my handcycle while Russ pushed Addison in the jogging stroller. This was my first official ride on my cycle, and after some minor adjustments in the parking lot before we took off, it was a great inaugural ride! I ended up getting an Invacare TopEnd XLT handcycle, and I am very happy with it. It is a great way to experience recreational handcycling, and I know it will allow me to enjoy countless hours riding with my family.

After the ride, we headed to Dornan's for a delicious BBQ. The program that followed involved various speakers, including Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, GTNP Superintendent David Vela, Gabriella's father, David Axelrad, and myself. I was so honored to be a part of this amazing group of people that are passionate about safe and accessible pathways in Wyoming. I spoke about the importance of allowing people of all abilities the opportunity to enjoy Wyoming as active participants as opposed to passive observers, something that is at the top of my priority list.

It was an incredible weekend, and we are all excited about continued involvement in this annual event. I was also invited to return this winter for the adaptive skiing program in Jackson, and I am very much looking forward to that opportunity. If you ever have the chance to visit Wyoming, don't miss the gorgeous Jackson area with its amazing, accessible pathway system!

She loves the water!
Kayaking at Jenny Lake

My two favorite people
After the ride
Had a blast! CREDIT: David J Swift. ©2014 David J Swift

L to R, Charlie Winlow, Pat Winlow, Hank Phibbs, Jake Winlow, Leland Christensen, Senator John Barrasso, Ashlee Lundvall, David Vela, David Axelrad, Katharine Dowson, Liza Bercovici and Senator Mike Enzi. CREDIT: David J Swift. ©2014 David J Swift

Sunday, August 3, 2014

An Incredible Year

This year's pageant was very bittersweet for me. The past year has been truly life-changing, and while I was sad to see my year of reigning as Ms. Wheelchair USA come to an end, I am so excited about what the Lord has in store for me as I line up speaking events for this fall and next spring. His plans are perfect!

I thought I was going to show up in Ohio and fill the mentor role for the contestants, but I quickly realized that they had so much to teach me as well! It was another amazing chance to see other women in chairs and the bond that we all automatically have. I know they are all going to do great things in their communities, and I am excited for the new Ms. Wheelchair USA, Yvette Pegues, as she begins her journey promoting A Legacy of Literature.

I was going to go through a day-by-day breakdown of the pageant week, but my friend, Jen Onsum, did such a great job on her blog, that I will just direct you there if you are interested. Check out Jen's post here. I will include a few pictures from the pageant week from my perspective, but be on the lookout for another post in the next few days. We just got back from an event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and it was amazing!

Yes, please!

Fun parade with Dianna
Group shot at Rubber City Harley Davidson

Throwing out a pitch at the Akron Rubber Ducks game.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guest Blogger: Yvette Yvolved Pegues

I met Yvette at the Abilities Expo in Atlanta in March. It was a complete God-thing, and I am so happy that He arranged it! Yvette is a mom and wife, and her adorable boys wrote a book, which she will talk about below. Yvette is a classy, well-spoken woman, and she is going to do a great job representing her state at the national pageant next month as Ms. Wheelchair Northern Georgia USA. Meet Yvette!

  • Tell us a little about yourself?
I’ve been married to my best friend for 11 years. We met after I was recruited from Barry University, South Florida, as a Networking and Systems Engineering college hire by IBM during a Technology Conference. He was living in Memphis, TN at the time. We married on the property where we live today with our two amazing sons: Isaiah (8) and Elijah (6).
Most say he's a GREAT man for hanging in there and taking over after the injury. He believes he is fulfilling his purpose and God's perfect plan to care for, protect & provide for his family to the best of his matter what. He never complains, always has a smile on his face and a song on his heart. I am so blessed to be his wife, the Mother of his children and his best friend. He has been, and always will be, my knight in shining armor! 

  • Tell us about your disability?
I suffer from a condition known as Chiari Malformation, Type I. Although it is a congenital brain malformation, it was discovered during a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2011 when my brain dropped into my spine. It is believed that I suffered from a stroke in my brain stem during an operative procedure to correct the condition which unsuspectingly left cognitive impairments and learning disabilities in the left brain as well as limitations in the spine and lower extremities. The condition, itself, is said to traditionally lead to very early and numerous operations very early in life, is passed from a mother to her girl-child, type II/III can be deadly and it is very similar to the condition, “Spina Bifida.”

  • What is your platform/motto in life?
“The scene of our GREATEST disappointment is the setting of our most POWERFUL miracle!” Everything about our outward tragedy was a blessing from the moment the excruciating feeling of a red, hot knife cutting through my bones and fire shooting through my veins led us to the emergency room that night to the day we walked into the operating room and never walked out.  Some may say that we pulled a bad card that day. We say, the card didn’t have to be pulled at all. There was just as much of a chance that the high neurological risk in BOTH parental case histories could have just as easily left me on the operating table. I could’ve also been born in a wheelchair and/or spending my entire life in and out of surgeries (as the condition suggests). But God had a different plan for my life. The life I live today is not for me but for those he has placed in my path and the purpose He has placed on my heart.

As such, we believe that it is important to leave a benevolent legacy. Our inclusive service platform is, “Dream.Write.Hope….Building a Legacy of Literacy, Today” for children with ALL abilities who aspire to be Junior Authors. Regardless or the categorical determination of child’s disability status, determination or eligibility under ADA, FAPE or IDEAS qualifications, DWH believes that every child reserves the right to dream and leave a legacy of hope for future generations. It only takes one generation to change a world. Why not now?

  • What are your favorite activities?
During rehabilitation, I had the privilege of learning how to play Chess! For the first few years of recovery, I was a serious fall risk and still have some limitations. Otherwise, I have an insatiable love of the outdoors and rigorous sports. As such, I have discovered the world of Adaptable Sports! I am learning to slowly move into Paralympic sports related activities such as sled hockey and snow skiing. In the meantime, nothing beats enjoying being in the pool with the boys and watching them engage in the various sports that we shared prior to my injury: ice/roller skating, tennis, horseback riding, lacrosse, fencing, soccer and Tae Kwon Do.

  • What is something we might not know about you?
When Isaiah was born, I went back to school to get a second degree in Early Childhood Education and Montessori to become a better mom which led me to qualify for a full tuition paid scholarship doctorate opportunity at Harvard School of Education just weeks before my TBI. I had just returned from an Earthquake mission where I assisted a medical relief team between Dominican Republic and Haiti by interpreting in (up to) 5 languages for Military, Census, families, media and medical. I was the greatest service opportunity of my life.

  • What are your future plans?
I would like to pursue my education in service to the community that I believe my condition has led me to serve. Regardless of my medical outcome (whether I ever walk again or not), I believe I was truly meant to be a servant leader in a community that I’ve grown to love and respect so much more than I can articulate. Our entire family has fallen with me and they have also grown with me in ways that no other lesson, book or classroom experience could have taught us. Our experience has been organic and absorbed through every fiber of our being. None of the lessons have been wasted on us nor will they be forgotten.

  • What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
Fear of Failure. In retrospect, my husband could see the health-related danger signs leading up to the fall. All I could see was the rise: I was a full-time graduate student Summa Cum Laude, Vice President of the Golden Key Honor Society, participating in Literacy in Africa at the University level, I had a fortuitous meeting with the sitting US Secretary of Education who agreed to mentor me while I was attending his Alma Mater. All while performing with excellence at the largest IT Company in the world. It was arguably one of my best (outwardly) performing years in education and career. My husband was happy and my children were flourishing. We were ‘ready’ to pack up and move to Cambridge…or so I thought. 

I had a really long way to fall, a really hard place to land and a really long time to lay there. I was so used to fighting that I thought I had to pick up where I left off. Do better than before. Fight the refusal of corporate to take me back and traditional academia to see me as normal. Prove to everyone that I was ABLE even when the reports said otherwise. Then when I stopped PUSHING and allowed the answers to arrive at a place of serenity, I realized that the measurement of, “Failure” went away when I changed my perspective of SUCCESS. 

  • What is the best advice you would give to someone with a recent injury/diagnosis?
Live LIFE Forward. Life does not end at the diagnosis! There are THREE major areas I would recommend a newly diagnosed or disabled person to focus on:
  • Your Self
    • Acceptance
    • Feelings
    • Personal Priorities
  • Your Family
    • Communication
    • Roles
    • Family Priorities
  • Your World
    • Educate Yourself
    • Expand Your Social Networks
    • Celebrate Your New Normal 
  • Anything else you would like to share?
Our transparency has been our therapy! We have had the privilege of therapy through writing. I believe that when I allowed my children into my transition and recovery, it also gave them permission to heal and help others going through the same/similar situation to do the same. So when they asked to write a book for kids by kids about what they were experiencing, we excitedly welcomed the opportunity for them to GROW through their experience outwardly. The result is, My Mommy had Brain Surgery & I’m Okay!, a small book about a big journey that has inspired classrooms struggling to make the brain FUN with a real story of inspiration, diversity, sensitivity, bullying and instruction - leaving an impact on young minds and hearts for a lifetime.  A second book, about the 4/4’s for Newly Disabled and Diagnosed persons ™ followed.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guest Blogger: Chandra Hendricks

We are less than 60 days from the 2014 Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant! I will continue to introduce the contestants as we get closer, and I am very proud and excited today to share with you all about Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming 2014-2015, Chandra Hendricks! Chandra is a Mom, and she just happens to be from the best state in the country! She is a shining example of someone who has learned from her mistakes and wants to use those life lessons to inspire and help others. Meet Chandra!

  • Tell us a little about yourself?

I am 31years old. I am a single mother to a beautiful 6 almost 7 yr. old who is my world. I am a stay-at-home mom and I home-school my daughter. I was home-schooled from 3rd grade on.  I come from a larger family; I have three brothers and three sisters. I love taking pictures of everything from my daughter and my family, to the outdoors-flowers, animals, sunrises, sunsets, and clouds.

  • Tell us about your disability?

On June 15th, 2003, I was in a car accident that involved three other people and left me paralyzed from the chest down.  We were drinking and decided it was time to go home, so we headed down the mountain. We had all been drinking alcohol. The driver began going too fast on the gravel road and lost control of the car. I had buckled my seat belt seconds before we began losing control, and that is what saved my life. The other three people were thrown from the car and died. I was the only one remaining in the vehicle. Due to my injuries, I am a C-6/7 incomplete quadriplegic.   

  • What is your platform/motto in life?

My platform is about drinking and driving and the choices that come with it. I am always positive and look for the silver lining in every bad situation. I believe that our attitude truly does shape our outlook on life. I also believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we will never know those reasons, but God does and He knows what He is doing, whether we can see it, agree with it, or even like it. All we can do is keep on pushing on, keep our heads up and continue to stay strong. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to playing the “what ifs” and “whys.”

  • What are your favorite activities?

I love photography, baking, cooking, and hanging out with my daughter, family and friends. 

  • What is something we might not know about you? 
I absolutely hate mushrooms, and I want to go skydiving for my 32nd birthday.
  • What are your future plans?
I want to learn how to drive and get a van that allows me to drive me and my daughter around. I would also like to finish my schooling (once I figure out what I want to do). I would like to move into my own home. And I hope to meet a nice man and get married someday.
  • What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome?

I would say that one of the biggest obstacles I have had to overcome was learning to live with such a life changing event. I had no choice but to make the best out of the situation. Also, it was difficult to learn how to write left handed, due to my left had being stronger than my right.

  • What is the best advice you would give to someone with a recent injury/diagnosis?
Make the best out of your situation and don’t live with the “what ifs” or the “whys” because they are things you will never know or understand and they could/would drive you crazy. You’re stronger than you believe that you are, you will be ok, and life can still go on.
  • Anything else you would like to share?
I am a very easy going person, and I enjoy being around people; however, I am somewhat shy at first. I am very excited and nervous for the national competition, and I am very excited to meet all the other women. I have never done anything like this in my life, and I believe that it will be a life changing experience.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wheeling Fashion

When my accident happened, I don’t think I understood just how much every aspect of my life would change. Some of the differences in life via wheelchair were obvious, but others sneaked up on me unexpectedly. One such change was fashion. I didn’t lose my sense of fashion- not that I had one to begin with- but the fit and look of clothing in general was altered. This was problematic, because I am slightly obsessed with shopping for clothes, shoes, and accessories, as my closet (and husband) can attest. Luckily, over the years, I’ve learned what works for me. For instance…

I am tall. I honestly don’t ever remember not battling shrinking hemlines and jeans that looked more like cropped pants. Now add the fact that I am sitting constantly, and things get even shorter. Another issue with pants is the fit and height in the back. Have you ever tried to put on a pair of pants while sitting down and not using your legs for assistance? You should really try it sometime. Like right now. Unless you’re in public- then wait until you get home.

My point is- it’s difficult. And forget it if the pants are even the least bit form fitting or low-rise. You might as well put a blanket on your lap now or wear a LONG shirt or jacket, because if you attempt to shift in your wheelchair or bend over to pick something up off of the ground, the entire room will suddenly wonder if you’ve changed your profession to plumbing. 

Finding jeans and dress pants in the proper length can be extremely challenging, as well as finding cute jeans in a higher rise, so let me share with you a few places that I have come to love for any other tall wheeling (or non-wheeling) gals out there.

  • New York and Co.: I love their dress pants. They have just the right amount of stretch in the fabric, and they offer them in a TALL length. Super cute, super long, and great prices and quality- especially when they are running a sale!
  • Cruel Girl Jeans: These are my new go-to jeans. The performance rise is higher in the back, and these babies are LONG if you order the XLong or XXlong lengths. And they even have an awesome kick-pleat for your boots in some of the styles- my favorite are the Georgia Relaxed. Love!
  • Maurices: Our local store has a surprisingly great selection of long length dress pants (LONG & X-LONG) for when I can’t get to a NY&Co. And I am obsessed with their items in the next category...

I have a never-ending phobia that I am constantly flashing the entire world when I wear shorter skirts. Russ and I have a routine when I get out of the car at church when I am wearing a shorter skirt. 

Me: “Can you see anything?”

Russ: “No.”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Russ: “I would have to lay on the ground to see up your skirt. Let me try.”

Me: “Don’t even think about it.”

Most of the time my paranoia prevents me from even wearing shorter skirts that leave me more than adequately covered, so praise the Lord for the influx of maxi dresses and maxi skirts! I would always rather err on the side of caution than to be known as the girl in the wheelchair who is very proud of her undergarments and wants to share them with the world. And don’t get me started about being up on stage in something short…

As for dresses, I usually don’t wear anything form fitting because it always bunches in the wrong spot. This was never more evident than when I went shopping for my prom dresses and wedding dress. Needless to say, I ended up having my dresses made. Fortunately I had a friend who is an amazing seamstress, and she did a beautiful job. I was able to find my pageant dress at David’s Bridal. I tried on some long dresses in satin and taffeta, and it was a hilarious nightmare. Finally, the nice attendant brought me a dress in a flowy chiffon material, and the fabric was much easier to work with. It’s usually just a trial and error experience, so take your patience and plenty of time. Accessible dressing rooms help as well!

The only shirts I tend to avoid are button-up tops. Since I use a manual chair, and I am constantly using my arms to propel myself, I find button-ups too constraining. Plus- they have a tendency to gap in inconvenient places as I am wheeling myself. I also avoid coats unless I will be out in cold weather for an extended period of time. My chair is a tight, custom fit, and the extra material is bulky and unwieldy. I prefer cute ponchos. They double as my shirt, but still keep my warm. Much more fashionable than my Snuggie as well.

This one actually changed for the good. I was never good on heels, and I was already taller than most of the boys I knew, so after my accident, when I realized my ankles would no longer support spiky heels, it didn’t break my heart. I do love my wedges, flats, and sandals though.

And my shoes always look brand new! I do have to deal with swelling, but I’ve found ways around that. I just buy bigger shoes! It’s not like I have to worry about walking out of them… And I can still wear my boots. I just head down to Wayne’s Boot Shop in downtown Cody and Russ’ Uncle Kevin either stretches the ankle curve for me or puts in zippers, depending on the boot and fit. ‘Cause you know I couldn’t handle not rocking my boots! I have a pair of Old Gringos and another pair of Corral boots that I am currently OBSESSED with.

Those are just a few examples of how fashion changes when you add in a wheelchair. Obviously, depending on your disability, this will be different for everyone. And yes, I’ve been on several websites that specialize in clothing designed for people in wheelchairs- I’ve just never been too keen on the designs or prices.

So what brands work for you? Any tips or tricks for others learning about wheeling fashion?

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for mentioning any of the above brands. I just wanted to share with you some of my personal favorites!