Although she’s never considered herself “the beauty pageant type,” Wisconsin resident Tasha Schuh was recently crowned Miss Wheelchair USA in a nationwide competition that celebrates the accomplishments of disabled women.

Schuh was paralyzed from the chest down 15 years ago when she fell through a trap door onto a concrete floor during a high school stage production. At first, she had difficulty coming to terms with her disability.

“When I had my accident, I really thought my life was over. I never thought that I would be happy. I thought that forever I would wish that my accident had not happened,” she said.

But over time, Schuh came to grips with her paralysis and went on to accomplish remarkable things. “I came home and just realized in time, if I was going to move on, that I was going to need to change my attitude. Because, no matter what, this was going to be my life,” she said.

Since then, she’s earned multiple bachelor’s degrees, traveled through the Midwest as a motivational speaker and is currently writing a book called ‘The Last Step Backward,’ which will come out in the fall.

And now, Schuh has earned top honors in the Miss Wheelchair USA competition, an event which seeks to advance disabled women.

“This program is all about empowering women, the self worth in women and just showing the achievements that can be accomplished even if you are sitting in a wheelchair,” she said. Congratulations, Tasha!

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