First ‘Ms. Wheelchair New Mexico’ named in decades heads to national competition

New Mexico

A local woman is hoping her platform will help New Mexico’s disabled community with new opportunities.

Born with a tethered spinal cord, Irene Delgado has always been in a wheelchair. It’s an experience that she wants to use to educate others.

“I feel like sometimes people may feel uncomfortable so I want to get people to understand what disabilities are,” said Delgado. “We’re just like everybody else but in our own way.”

It has led her to Ms Wheelchair America, a non-profit dedicated to education and advocacy.

“It’s not a beauty pageant. That’s what I love about it,” said Delgado. “It’s not a beauty pageant. It’s more about your skills, what you’re able to do.”

Delgado is the Land of Enchantment’s newest title holder — the first to represent New Mexico in decades.

“I’m the first since the ’70s,” said Delgado. “After my year reign, I will actually be the state coordinator to start the program here in our state.”

With this new position comes a new platform, designed to inspire and educate about the talents and abilities that come with disabilities.

“What I want to do is, I have a platform and it’s ‘Every Disability Creates New Abilities’ and with that, I feel like, no matter someone’s disability, they have their own abilities that other people don’t in their own way,” said Delgado.

During her reign, she hopes to make changes in New Mexico, including adding more ramps and accessibility, better health coverage and even driver’s education, which can cost thousands of dollars out of pocket for those with disabilities. This fall, she hopes to also bring awareness to kids, showing kindness and acceptance can go a long way.

“I would like to go speak at schools when the new school year starts and bring that positivity and that awareness so everybody can be friends with everybody.”

This summer, she will attend the national competition in Little Rock, Ark. but it doesn’t come cheap. She has set up a GoFundMe page to help with registration costs and travel expenses for anyone who would like to make a donation.

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