Madeline Delp, Miss Wheelchair USA. (Source: Madeline Delp)
CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) -
The former Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina USA returned to the Wilmington area Saturday as the newly crowned Ms. Wheelchair USA.
Madeline Delp won the national pageant in Ohio last week and made her first public appearance since being crowned Ms. Wheelchair USA at the Life Rolls on Surfing event at Carolina Beach.
Delp was paralyzed from the waist down when she was 10 years old after a car wreck.
After the accident, her support system vanished. Her church told her the accident was a sort of punishment, and her school refused to make accommodations.
For years, it was just Delp and her mother.
"She taught me about gratitude. She taught me to be strong. She taught me to smile when all I wanted to do was cry," Delp said about her mother.
With her mother's help, Delp was able to find inner strength and she decided she would not be bound to her disability.
"Life is 10 percent of what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it. So with this series and with this year, I want to focus on that 90 percent," she said.
At Saturday's event, she surfed with the help of the Life Rolls On organization while also filming the first episode of her video series.
"There's so much life after having to deal with something like this," she said.
Delp is living proof of that. She now surfs, skydives, ballroom dances, and drives.
It is her goal to inspire others with physical disabilities to live a full and vibrant life.
"If I can say anything to anyone watching this, it's just, don't give up. It's not over," Delp said. "Your life can still be so beautiful and there are so many resources out there for you to experience everything, maybe just in a new way."