2007 Ms. Wheelchair Texas Jackie Bartels

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Jackie Bartels was born and raised in rural Nebraska. At age 13 she was helping her grandparents fix a broken windmill at their family farm when she fell about 20 feet sustaining a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the waist down. From the onset of her disability, Jackie has remained active, nothing has gotten in her way. In high school she tried out and made the cheerleading squad. Doing the hand movements from her chair and even serving as the base for stunts, she later became captain of the squad.

Jackie came to Texas to attend college at UTArlington on a full-ride wheelchair tennis scholarship. She is also active in adaptive snow and water skiing and wheelchair basketball. Jackie recently received a bachelor’s degree from UTArlington in Graphic Design. She would like to pursue graduate studies in rehabilitation counseling for children and adults living with disabilities. Jackie truly believes that “where there is a will, there is a way.”

As Ms. Wheelchair Texas 2007, Jackie attends events throughout the State of Texas and the United States promoting disability awareness and serving as a spokeswoman for people with disabilities. Her platform focuses on promoting the importance of attitude; to help not just those with disabilities, but people of all abilities to be aware that although they may have some obvious differences on the outside, they also have a lot in common and that given the right attitude anything is possible. Jackie wants to focus on children with disabilities, to help them become socially and physically active people; living independent lives. Her goal is to advocate attitudinal and architectural barriers and promote courage to help adapt and overcome adversity. Jackie is currently a part of a non-profit organization called RISE Adventures. R-recovery, I-inspiration, S-success, E-empowerment. The organization is dedicated “To help persons with physical challenges gain independence through a learning experience in adaptive outdoor adventures and sporting programs.” In July Jackie traveled to Maryland to compete in the 2007 Ms.Wheelchair America Pageant, where she placed 3rd runner up, and was voted Ms. Congeniality.

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