The new Ms Wheelchair Arkansas hopes her story can help others find the strength to overcome tragedy and adversity in their lives.
Tiffany Allen, a resident of Mount Ida, was crowned Ms Wheelchair Arkansas earlier this year in only her second appearance in the annual competition.
Tiffany’s journey to her crowning as Ms Wheelchair Arkansas began five years ago when a single car accident left her seriously injured and clinging to life.
She explained that she crashed her car after falling asleep at the wheel. Tiffany was trapped in the car and had to be pulled out. She lost both her legs to an engine fire and her right arm was seriously injured while she when she was dragged from the vehicle.
She woke up two months later and began a long difficult recovery period. She is grateful for the support she received from the Mount Ida community during her recovery. She also is thankful for her family and the support they continue to give her.
As Tiffany began to rebuild her life she wanted to continue that spirit of support that was offered to her following her accident.
She has spoken to local youth groups about the dangers of drinking and driving and tries to act as a mentor for others who have disabilities. When she found out about the pageant last year she saw this an opportunity to share her story with others while trying to be a role model for others who may have a disability.
After finishing runner up last year she wasn’t sure if she wanted to compete again this year, but decided to in time to compete again. She finished runner up again, but was later asked to serve as Ms Wheelchair Arkansas when the winner could not fulfill her duties.
Tiffany doesn’t care how she came to wear the crown. She is just proud to have the opportunity to represent Arkansas.
The pageant also allowed Tiffany the chance to spend time with other women in wheelchairs. Living in a small community, she had not really had an opportunity to interact with other women in wheelchairs. The pageant offered her time to get to know others who share her life experiences.
She is excited that being crowned Ms Wheelchair Arkansas has opened up doors for her and her message. She has had the opportunity to speak about her journey and the Ms Wheelchair Arkansas pageant on the radio and in other local media.
She is also working with local groups to promote handicap accessibility in Montgomery County. Tiffany stated that Twin Creeks boat ramp on Lake Ouachita is one of four lifts in Arkansas that make boating handicap accessible. She is also planning an event to showcase the handicap accessible walkway on the LOViT trail.
Her next step in this journey is the Ms Wheelchair America pageant coming in August.
She is excited about the opportunity to gather with 50 other women who share similar lives with her.
The national competition yet another opportunity for Tiffany to help others with their disability. Attending the pageant will mean she won’t be able to spend as much time with her daughter prior to her birthday, she hopes this is an opportunity to do something that her children can be proud of.
Tiffany is honored to be chosen to represent Arkansas, but admits that winning the national crown was be a dream come true. She doesn’t just want to represent women in wheelchairs. she wants to represent all people with disabilities. She hopes that as she shares her story others who may have just begun their journey to recovery can see it does get better.
She is currently raising money for her trip to the Ms Wheelchair America pageant to be held in Erie, Pennsylvania, August 14-20. She has been fortunate to raise much of what she needs for the trip, but she is still in need of support. She has a GoFundMe account and has fundraisers planned locally.