Sponsored by


Woman in Wheelchair Works towards Miss Illinois Crown

How she's shooting for the stars
PEORIA - People can always come up with excuses "not" to do something, but one Central Illinois woman is taking her challenge and using it to inspire others.

“I guess I’ve always been confident. I think I get it from my parents I’ve just always been a confident person,” said Jessica Kirkwood.

That part is clear. Kirkwood stood out in the ICC library as a young woman, fashionably dressed with a big, can-do smile. She said that trait is something that carries her through life, much like the wheelchair she uses to get around.

“There's so much stuff that people want to do with disabilities and you just think you probably would feel awkward because you're different from everybody else. But I think it's just mainly your confidence and if you're confident you can get through anything,” Kirkwood said.

Kirkwood has cerebral palsy, a condition that affects her muscles. But that hasn't kept her from working towards a degree at Illinois Central College and she's not stopping there.

“I actually am going to be a contestant in the Miss Illinois U.S.A. Pageant,” she said.

 It won't be her first tour into the pageant world.

‘I did a pageant when I was 16. It was called ‘Miss You Can Do It.’

It’s a pageant for girls and women with special needs, started by Abbey Curran, winner of the 2008 Miss Iowa U.S.A. Pageant. Kirkwood won in 2004.She said there weren't many role models for her growing up. She hopes to change that for others.

“They could see me and think like, well if she did it then it's definitely possible that I can do it.”

She has some advice to any young girl facing adversity; “You definitely don't want to have that, like thought in your head like, oh what if? So you always want to be like, i just did it! Maybe if it didn't work out for me, but if you didn't try you'll never know. So definitely go for your goal.”

Kirkwood says she hopes to get some sponsors before she signs up. The Miss Illinois U.S.A. Pageant runs from August 29th through September 1st in Skokie, Illinois.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus