Here She Comes ... Ms. Wheelchair Indiana

Emily Munson, who has SMA, is a veritable Superwoman

by Quest Staff on May 14, 2009 - 10:09am

People who know Emily Munson aren’t surprised to learn that the savvy 24-year-old just happily added yet another activity to a plate that’s already brimming full.

Emily and her sister Ginny
Emily (right) and her sister Ginny visited Jerry Lewis’ star in Hollywood last year.

Munson is a graduate student and law student at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. She’ll earn her masters degree in bioethics in May; a year down the road she’ll have her law degree.

When not hitting the books, Munson, who has spinal muscular atrophy, plays power soccer.

She also volunteers as a guardian ad litem, a court-appointed representative for the interests of minor children charged with crimes, when their parents are unable to do so.

As if all that isn’t enough, she’s now also been named Ms. Wheelchair Indiana, winning a competition based on her advocacy, achievements, communication skills and ability to act as an articulate spokesperson for individuals with disabilities.

The title isn’t one that allows her to rest on her laurels.

For the next year, Munson will travel the state speaking to audiences about the need to develop better emergency preparedness plans for people with disabilities.

“My primary interest is raising awareness of people with disabilities in general,” she said. “It’s vital to our society that people with disabilities are allowed to become better integrated with the community.”

View a video report on the Miss Wheelchair competition and Munson’s win.

Munson won the honor in a weekend competition this March, competing against other women wheelchair users who are advocates.

The Indiana competition is sponsored by the disability advocacy group People on Wheels.

“Among the candidates, we looked especially for someone who was both articulate and empathetic. Emily easily met those criteria,” says Nancy Cotterill, People on Wheels president and Indiana coordinator for the Ms. Wheelchair America competition. “She’s smart, and she’s compassionate.”

Munson now is raising funds to go the national Ms. Wheelchair America pageant, to be held in Rapid City, S.D., in August.

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