What would make a 50 year old special needs mom enter a competition called Ms Health And Fitness? Is it a mid-life crisis? A shot at fifteen seconds of fame? Nah.
I entered this competition because of Kaylee.
Kaylee is a good friend, she’s funny, loves to give hugs, always has her nails perfectly painted, and is also a dancer. She’s part of a dance class with other girls who have special needs, and I’ve had the awesome opportunity to be a spectator at one of Kaylee’s performances. Upon just a single glance, it’s immediately obvious how the entire dance crew feels music down deep in a place the rest of us haven’t experienced. Kaylee’s big sister spins her around on stage in her wheelchair, and I promise, there’s not a dry eye to be found. It’s an unforgettable sight to see as joy always radiates from this beauty’s face.
Speaking of the wheelchair, Kaylee is confined to it … and her home isn’t handicap accessible. Her momma, as a result, has to carry her when moving her from room to room. Recently, her family was scammed by a person who was supposedly printing and selling t-shirts to fundraise for Kaylee. The money was going to be used to widen hallways and doorways in their small mobile home to give Kaylee and her wheelchair more freedom. Family and friends pitched in to purchase the t-shirts, and more than one-thousand dollars was raised. But it was a con. The money is now gone right along with the man who crafted the scheme. In his terrible wake is Kaylee, who is in need of money to make improvements to her home.
I entered this competition because of Jessica, Leslie, Graham, Hannah, Nick, Dustin, Amber, Jared, Heather, and Kevin:
These silly willies are my best buddies. They’re quick-witted, charming, kind, loyal, hard-working … and they have intellectual disabilities. Graham is in charge of recycling at the Trousdale School, and he is always spreading the message of saving the earth. Leslie was recently honored the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame “Heart of a Champion” award for being a multi-sport Special Olympic superstar. Hannah has Autism, and she is a brilliant actress. Jessica is an artist. Nick and Jared can sing every word to most country music songs. Dustin and Kevin have Down syndrome, and both have dance moves rivaling anyone on Dancing With The Stars. I guess you could say each are differently abled in the most spectacular sort of way.
As they’re getting older, though, their parents are aging too. And the worry of what the future will look like is a viable concern. Every special needs family faces the burdensome reality of the circle of life. In response, the Trousdale School in Cleveland, TN is getting ready to build an incredible residential center that will house my best friends. It will have around the clock supervision and care while encouraging independence, creativity, friendship, and personal growth. But money is needed to get this project completed.
The winner of Ms Health And Fitness 2018 gets a whopping $20,000.00. And if I win, half the winnings will go to Kaylee and half will go toward the Trousdale School’s residential center. That’s the reason a 50 year old special needs mom would enter this kind of competition. I mean, let’s get real. The rules encourage contestants to use professional photos. And as a mom of two cuties who have special needs, I barely have time to snap pictures with my iPhone. Want to see what I’m up against?
These are my fellow competitors:
This is Anna Neal, the very fit young woman who won the competition last year:
Aaaaaaaand. This is me. (You guessed it, a picture snapped with my iPhone):
While I totally think I could rock this title … and while I’d love to have the opportunity to showcase the special needs community … I realize it’s a looooong shot. haha. The greatest stories and victories, however, usually come from the longest shots.
I’m not as young and beautiful as the other contenders, but I definitely qualify because health and fitness are life to me. Four years ago, I was so overwhelmed with many different things life was throwing at me. It got to a point where I was I living each moment waiting for the next panic attack. Anxiety looks different for every person. For me, panic attacks would come out of nowhere and would cause my body to start shaking violently. It was completely out of my control and frightening. Finally, I reached a point where I had to make a change.
My choices were to spill my guts to a therapist or to hire a trainer who would push me physically to a point of spilling my guts out on the gym floor. Studies show it only takes five minutes of aerobic exercise to stimulate anti-anxiety effects in our bodies, so I chose the trainer and have never looked back. Panic attacks, fear, and feelings of inadequacy are a distant memory. I work out with my trainer five days a week and run at least one mile a day. So far this year, I’ve competed in ten races … I earned first place in one of the races in my age group and took second in two others
I entered this competition because of Hope and Charlie:
One day, I may be in Kaylee’s mom’s shoes and find myself needing assistance in widening a doorway or in buying a piece of therapy equipment for my own kiddos.
One day, I may not be able to care for Hope and Charlie, and they may need a residential center where they can thrive while being loved and kept safe.
Kaylee represents my life.
The Trousdale School represents my life.
I also entered this competition because I’m proud to be part of the differently abled community. Daily, I see all the special needs mommas on social media who are in the trenches … loving, serving, and spilling themselves out for those who have been placed in their care. Advocating. Training. Celebrating. Holding out hope for the brightest future.
Those moms represent my life too.
It only takes 10 seconds per day for the next six weeks … and voting is free:
And remember to vote every single day for Kaylee and for my best buddies!!!!
(A big thanks to all who have already voted!!!)
Just my thoughts,
For all who have asked, here are the official rules:
Round 1: TOP 25 (Starts June 19th and Ends June 28th, 2018) – Selected Entrants will be divided equally into seventy two (72) groups. Public voting will help reduce each group to the top twenty-five (25) models.
Round 2: TOP 10 (Starts June 28th and Ends July 5th, 2018) – Public voting will help reduce the top twenty-five (25) to the top ten (10) models in each group.
Round 3: TOP 5 (Starts July 5th and Ends July 12th, 2018) – Public voting will help reduce the top ten (10) to the top five (5) models in each group.
Round 4: Group Winners (Starts July 12th and Ends July 19th, 2018) – Public voting will help reduce the top five (5) models to one (1) preliminary winner in each group. Second place group finishers will advance to the Wildcard Round.
WILDCARD ROUND (VOTING RESETS)
Round 5: Wildcard Round (Starts July 20th and Ends July 22nd, 2018) – Second place group finishers will be divided evenly into twelve (12) groups. Public voting will determine one (1) winner from each Wildcard group. Wildcard winners advance to the semi-finals.
SEMI-FINALS (VOTING RESETS)
Round 6: Semi-finals (Starts July 23rd and Ends August 2nd, 2018) – Preliminary group winners and Wildcard winners will be divided evenly into twelve (12) semi-final groups. Public voting will determine one (1) winner from each semi-finals group that will advance into the finals.
FINALS (VOTING RESETS)
Round 7: Finals (Starts August 3rd and Ends August 9th, 2018) – Public voting will help reduce the top twelve (12) finalists to the one (1) winner of the Ms Health and Fitness competition (the “Grand Prize Winner”), subject to such individuals compliance with the Rules and any other applicable terms and conditions in connection with the Competition.