Paralyzed Scottish songstress diesJan 18 02:26
The U.K. version of American Idol, The X Factor, helped catapult Kerry McGregor, a paraplegic from a fall at age 13, into stardom. Her long blonde tresses, sexy husky voice and status of being a full-time Mom captivated the British public. In 2010, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Kerry sadly lost her battle last week. She was a force to be reckoned with and I’m writing this so more people learn of her legacy.
If you didn’t know about Kerry McGregor until now, like me, no need to feel out of the loop. She wasn’t as well-known in the States since BBC America has never replayed that show over here. If she had been on American Idol, you can bet your butt she would’ve been a hit in America. Kerry made it to the finals and performed both in and out of her chair, with her sometimes transferring to a stool for aesthetic purposes (which is very interesting to watch from a wheelchair-user's POV). “Hey, that stool looks dangerous!!” She also considered having hunky men carry her out on stage. I'm all for that idea.
Kerry was also an actress and was on the Channel 4 show, The Book Group, where she played “Carol-Anne,” the love interest of one of the lead male characters (an author who also uses a wheelchair). Two wheelchair-users together you say? Is this a stereotype? You can watch of clip of Kerry in action on the show and make your own judgement here.
When she was on The X-Factor in 2006, she made it through several cuts and charmed both Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell in the process (watch her audition video). They did not let her through simply because she couldn’t walk. She had a great set of pipes, and just happened to be in a wheelchair. She was slated to record a duet with Susan Boyle before her passing, which may still happen with editing magic.
After being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2010, Kerry went full-steam ahead into tackling this particularly nasty strain of cancer (one of the top causes of death in people with SCI). She became an Ambassador for Action on Bladder Cancer, (ABC), the first UK National bladder cancer charity. Kerry had stomach pains for 2 years before she was diagnosed, so please keep that in mind if you ever find yourself feeling the same way.
May you rest in peace, Kerry. You helped pave the way for women like you and me to get out there and follow their dreams in the mainstream media. Your amazing voice, and badass spirit, will not be forgotten.
- Watch an interview with Kerry after she was booted from the X-Factor- Kerry McGregor’s Official Site
- Info on bladder cancer and spinal cord injuries (from Craig Hospital)
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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.