Sarah Foley wants to ignite other women wheelchair users with an undeniable glow of healing, self-acceptance and friendship. Toward this goal she has organized Vertically, a four-day conference in Park City, Utah, Sept. 27-30 that will focus on fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, emotional healing and elevating confidence.
“My driving force is to be there for the next woman who becomes injured,” says Foley, Ms. Wheelchair Hawaii 2018. “I was injured almost seven years ago, and the initial images that popped in my head surrounding disability were not pretty.” It’s hard to look at the photos of Foley, who is beautiful, and hear that she couldn’t see that for a long time.
“I didn’t understand how I could have a disability, use a wheelchair and still feel sexy,” she says in a video documenting her Vertical Beauty Project, which led to this year’s conference. “I started working with a photographer, and as she’s taking my photo, it was the first time I felt a connection to my chair. It was instant. I call it my glow. My glow was turned on, it was ignited. I felt so sexy and said, ‘I found my calling.’”
Since she founded it in February 2018, the Vertical Beauty Project has provided makeovers and photoshoots to women with disabilities to, as she says, “capture their strength and ignite both their inner and outer beauty.” Now she’s taking that success and expanding it to Vertically.
“I believe that sometimes we have to see it to believe it, and for society to see disability differently, it begins with those who are living with it,” says Foley. “My retreat will be a confidence boot camp of fitness, group therapy, girl time, makeovers, photo shoots — all with the goal to elevate these women to look and feel happy and healthy.”
Tickets are selling out fast. To see if any are left, go to Verticalblonde.com/vertically.