When I observe my situation, I have a pretty stable situation with my disability, after the accident there was a status to come to an adjustment. With congenital or progressive illnesses you always live with the fact that something will happen and it can get worse and worse. You have to come to
terms with that. Although we all have me to terms with life, I feel how Ryann literally absorbs life and lives and gives intensely every day. Enjoy them and read for yourself what the reigning
Miss Wheelchair Virginia has to say…

Please introduce yourself
-My name is Ryann. I’m 27 years old, I live in the US, I’m a registered nurse, and I was born with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

How long have you been in a wheelchair?
– I’ve used my chair for a little over one year now.

Was it an accident / illness, please report a little about it if you like?
-I was born with a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or EDS. EDS is genetic connective tissue disorder that causes the collagen my body produces to be too lax or too stretchy. This causes
a plethora of issues, but the main ones being velvety soft stretchy skin that bruises very easily andd oesn’t heal well and hypermobile joints that dislocate easily. Over the last few years my lower extremities have been affected more and more until now my hips, knees, and ankles dislocate
when I stand or try to walk.

What are your hobbies or better passions?
– My hobbies include modelling, lifting weights, writing, and playing wheelchair basketball. My passions include disability advocacy, emergency/trauma medicine, and working to educate about and increase visibility for disabled individuals.

We are already networked on Facebook for a while now and whenever I write with you I am only grinning, are you a happy person and do you have a life motto?
-Thank you! I am a very happy person usually. I decided a long time ago that I had two choices: I could either be angry and bitter about my diagnosis/situation or I could wake up every morning and choose to use my situation to help educate and inspire others. I chose the latter. Some days are harder than others, but as long as I continue to hear that my speeches and writings are helping someone, then I’m gonna keep on going.

How do you become Ms. Wheelchair Virginia and what do you have to do if youare not exactly a man to take part in such a competition, a story that certainly interests a lot of girls in wheelchairs.
-The Ms. Wheelchair Program is an advocacy based program that exists in manty states across the US. It isn’t a beauty pageant so there’s no bathing suit or talent portion. Instead participants

are judged by public speaking and interview skills, as well as advocacy work in their respective
communities. The winner then uses her title to advocate across her state for her reigning year. Next August I will so to Little Rock, Alabama to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America, so stay tuned!

You have so many great pictures in so many poses and situations, you have inhibitions to present yourself or you are open for everything.
-Thank you! I love to model. It has turned into my way of performing. Growing up I was a dancer. I lived to perform onstage. Now that dancing isn’t quite on the menu any longer, modelling is how I express myself. I can choose to hide my disability or put it on full display. I recently did a
shoot showcasing my flexibility and hypermobility to show just how my disability affects my body. (Plus I wanted to document just what my body is capable of before I lose any more of m mobility.) I’m pretty much open to anything!

What drives you forward?
-The hundreds of messages I receive telling me how much hearing my story or seeing how candid I am in my posts make people feel more empowered to share their own story or that I taught them something about disability that they’d never known before. That’s why I do what I do.

What are your plans for the future?
-Honestly, I’m not sure! Definitely more advocacy work and public speaking appearances. I would love to see my writing on a larger scale and to a larger audience! And then competing for Ms. Wheelchair America next August!

Do you want to give something for the people out there?
-I would like people to stop taking themselves so seriously. In the long run, we really don’t get a lg time down here so we might as well enjoy it while we can. Smile at a stranger. Take a new route home. Go somewhere you’ve never been. But whatever you do, never let your fear hold you back. Fear is temporary. Regret is forever.

Meet her on Facebook 
Interview by Alexander Lang for YouLife


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