Get her on your radar: Maggie ReddenNov 08 06:55
Think you know every mover and shaker with a disability there is to know about in this world? Think again. I thought I did, but the internet loves proving me wrong.
I recently heard about Maggie Redden a few days ago, and as a disability writer who prides herself in knowing the disabled newsmakers of the world, I‘m a bit embarrassed. This dynamic woman, originally from India, has made a name for herself as an Paralympian and she even competed in the Miss New Jersey 2007 pageant.
Maggie, a 2007 graduate of Penn State, contracted Polio and was brought to the US by her adopted mother at the age of 2 ½. Like lots of kids with disabilities, she was introduced to adapted athletics, and once she hit high school, track and field became her passion where she made it her goal to make it to the top. So far, she’s been able to compete in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics in the women's 100m T53 and 200m T53. She’s also become an outspoken advocate for adapted athletics and auditioned to become a Nike field reporter. Watch her demo reel here.
What I love about Maggie is her fire. Not only has she decided to focus on promoting the importance of adapted athletics, she’s also working on fighting as many misconceptions as she can, and her running in the 2007 Miss New Jersey Pageant, the able-bodied version mind you, is one of the gutsiest moves I‘ve ever seen by a woman with a disability. She may not have won, but was one of the finalists.
Think whatever you will about beauty pageants. They mean something different to everyone, but it must have been pretty tough to get up there and compete when you were the only contestant with a disability. I have no clue if Maggie is the only woman who uses a wheelchair to ever enter a state-level beauty pageant (anyone know?), but its pretty damn cool.
Currently Maggie is working in social media with hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster. I foresee Maggie making some huge waves at the 2012 London Paralympics. You get ‘em girl.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.