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View Full Version : Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin Is Stripped Of Title After Appearing In Photo Standing


RINGLEADER
04-06-2005, 10:35 PM
MILWAUKEE - A woman who has accepted the Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin crown said pageant officials acted fairly when they stripped the title from the original winner after she appeared in a newspaper photograph standing up.

Kim Jerman, 30, of Waukesha said the original winner, Janeal Lee, did not abide by the pageant rules.

The organization has said candidates for the crown have to "mostly be seen in the public using their wheelchairs or scooters."

Lee, 30, has said a scooter is her primary source of mobility. But the Kaukauna High School teacher was shown standing in her classroom in a photograph carried in a supplement to The Post-Crescent newspaper of Appleton.

Jerman, who has cerebral palsy and has never been able to walk, said late Tuesday that she thought pageant officials were fair to take the crown from Lee because she didn't abide by the rules.

"I'm very excited to have this opportunity but at the same time it's sad it's under these circumstances," said Jerman, a secretary at Catholic Charities in Waukesha.

Jerman, second runner-up at the organization's Wisconsin pageant, was one of five women who competed for the title during a January competition in which beauty played "zero" role in determining the winner, state program coordinator Gina Hackel said Tuesday.

"I am not getting into degrees of someone's disability. That is not the issue here," said Hackel, the 2004 Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin winner.

The crown went to Jerman after first runner-up Michelle Kearney of West Allis refused to accept it. Kearney said Hackel recruited Lee for the program and knew she could stand before Lee won the title, yet the crown was taken from her after the fact.

"That's why I refused it. I figured if I accepted it would look like I was OK with the decision," Kearney said.

Lee, of Appleton, planned to compete against her sister Sharon Spring, Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota, during the national pageant July 19-24 at Albany, N.Y. Spring, who also has muscular dystrophy, withdrew from the competition after her sister was stripped of her title.

"I no longer feel comfortable supporting an organization that instead of working towards creating a positive change, chooses to perpetuate stereotypes and requests its participants to hide their abilities while in public," the 26-year-old Rochester, Minn., woman said in a written statement.

The coordinator for the group's Minnesota program, Jen Onsum, stepped down from her job, according to a statement included in a link on the national program's Web site Tuesday.

"I feel I must now stand up for Janeal Lee and against an organization that has discriminated against the very people they strive to advocate for," Onsum said.

"Janeal relies on her scooter for her primary and daily mobility. The Ms. Wheelchair America guidelines for eligibility state that contestants must utilize a wheelchair for daily mobility, which is what Janeal does. It is unfortunate that the Ms. Wheelchair program is making Janeal out to be the bad guy and that the public is only seeing one side of the story. Janeal did nothing wrong, she was just meeting the eligibility guidelines."

Pat O'Bryant, the national program's executive director, confirmed Jerman had accepted the group's Wisconsin crown but refused additional comment.

"We are not getting into a he said, she said, situation. I think we've said enough," she said. "I'm very sorry all of this is happening."

Lee said she didn't think the organization's decision was fair but would use the dispute to teach others about the range of disabilities people can have.

"Clearly, it would be better if this didn't have to happen to spark any interest or conversation about disabilities," Lee said.

trndobrd
04-06-2005, 10:38 PM
Jerman, second runner-up at the organization's Wisconsin pageant, was one of five women who competed for the title during a January competition in which beauty played "zero" role in determining the winner, state program coordinator Gina Hackel said Tuesday.




This thread seems just fine without pics

Nightfyre
04-06-2005, 10:39 PM
SAy it aint so! Sorry, was still thinking about Charles Woodson as a Chief.

KCWolfman
04-06-2005, 10:41 PM
If Kerry had won, her standing would have been a triumph instead of a detriment.

Taco John
04-06-2005, 11:28 PM
If Kerry had won, her standing would have been a triumph instead of a detriment.


ROFL

Rain Man
04-06-2005, 11:33 PM
What a rascal.

Phobia
04-07-2005, 12:13 AM
This is quite the national scandal that has affected the lives of 2 or 3 people. You would think people would show more sympathy towards the handicapped, but we don't. I'm more entitled to a close parking space than somebody scooting around in an electric gocart.

Ultra Peanut
04-07-2005, 05:26 AM
Cheater, cheater, booger eater!

Cochise
04-07-2005, 06:24 AM
If Kerry had won, her standing would have been a triumph instead of a detriment.

...and Edwards said, just as he had prophecied, "In the name of John Kerry, take up your bed and walk!"

trndobrd
04-07-2005, 06:37 AM
...and Edwards said, just as he had prophecied, "In the name of John Kerry, take up your bed and walk!"


Edwards would say no such thing!




Not when there is a big, fat lawsuit to be filed.