Madeline Delp on ‘living life harder’ in a wheelchair

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Madeline Delp, 2017 Ms. Wheelchair USA, has been known to speak at a state HME association meeting and have lunch with stakeholders like AAHomecare’s Laura Williard.

It’s a reflection of Delp’s gratitude for the industry that provides the product—her wheelchair—that allows her to “Live Boundless,” her motto and her platform going into the pageant, her first.

“I used to begrudgingly see the wheelchair as a thing I didn’t want to have—I didn’t want ownership of it in any sense,” said Delp, 23, a recent graduate who studied Spanish and German, and business in college. “Over the years, I saw how it was truly my source to having life again. Of course, I would have never wished to have to use one, but now that I need it, I see that it is my key to true freedom.”

Right now, Delp, who became paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident at 10, uses a TiLite Aero Z that was donated to her by Numotion. In the past, she has worked with local providers Whitley’s Home Medical Equipment in Henderson and CarePartners Health Services in Asheville.

The right wheelchair has been key for Delp, a woman always on the go, whether it’s participating in the pageant, studying abroad in Germany during college, and now launching a nonprofit and filming a series that both bear her motto’s name.

“You have to have a wheelchair that is up for the job,” she said. “I have only had this guy (my current chair) for five months and he is already a bit beat up, haha. My chair and I live life hard.”

Now that she’s Ms. Wheelchair USA, Delp is traveling the United States, helping to teach people how to thrive in life, regardless of their physical condition.

“I have found a whole new sense of purpose in my life,” she said. “I realize that being an encouragement for others is my true passion and now I want to pursue speaking, filming and social entrepreneurship.”

Beth Bowen, executive director of the Atlantic Coast Medical Equipment Services Association, which hosted Delp at a recent meeting of North Carolina and Virginia providers, says it’s exciting to see the pageant winner take on a more national role.

“ACMESA is very proud of Madeline,” she said. “We know she represents North Carolina well, and now we watch her proudly as she wears her crown across the USA and shares her amazing story.”