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"I’m 27 years old and I’m a wife, a registered nurse, an athlete, a disability advocate, a published model, a karaoke queen, and Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2020! Oh! And I was born with a genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. EDS causes lots of fun symptoms, but most notably, it causes my joints to be very hypermobile and dislocate easily. My hips, knees, and ankles have slowly become more and more unstable over the past few years requiring a cane, then forearm crutches, and now my wheelchair.
Many people see a wheelchair as something that hinders the user’s ability to live a full life. For me, it’s the exact opposite. My wheelchair has given me my life back. I’m able to work, go shopping, explore, and even play wheelchair basketball!
The 3E logo resonates with me because it took me a very long time to accept my body and my disability. It’s something I work on daily and will be working on the rest of my life. This body is the only one I have. It wakes me up in the morning, allows me to work, and even play sports! Sure, it might fall apart more than I like, (but hey, those party tricks are fun!), but it’s all I’ve got and I am SO proud of what I have been able to achieve in the gumby meatcage.
Through the Ms. Wheelchair program I’m able to travel, educate, and advocate for other disabled people like me and hopefully give abled bodied listeners a glimpse into what living with a disability is like. I might be a little shorter now and I have a new hatred for gravel and cobblestones, but man has my shoe game improved! My disability is a huge part of my life, but it isn’t the full story.
My name is Ryann. I’m a wife, a nurse, an athlete, an advocate, a model, and I just happen to do it all on wheels! <3” - Ryann