Reporting Natasha Brown
By Natasha Brown
HARLEYSVILLE, PA (CBS) – A Montgomery County woman whose life took an unexpected turn has made it her mission to change the lives of other women.
Their common bond is a wheelchair but their opportunities are boundless thanks to her organization.
Wendy Crawford wanted to see the world.
She was just 18-years-old and living in her native Canada.
Her good looks were opening doors to a modeling career the 1980′s.
“I got a call to go to Tokyo for 2 months for a contract and then after that I was supposed to go to New York with Fords Modeling Agency,” said Wendy.
Wendy never made it to Tokyo.
On the way to the airport a drunk driver rear-ended Wendy’s car.
She suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed.
“It was horrible because i was also very athletic, I was a lifeguard, I was a long distance runner, I used to ride horses and so for me I just couldn’t imagine ever functioning like this,” she said.
“Then I realized things weren’t changing,” she said. “You can’t feel sorry for yourself or it’s just too boring or depressing, you might as well just get moving.”
And move she did.
Wendy who now lives in Harleysville, Pennsylvania created an online magazine for women in wheelchairs called mobileWOMEN.org.
Because she was paralyzed and in a wheelchair when she was only a teenager she needed answers as a young woman.
“I started having questions like what about pregnancy, what about sexuality, what about parenting,” she said.
The website, mobileWOMAN.org, is a place where disabled women can find answers to those questions and more.
I started that website because basically I went through the journey of becoming a woman in a wheelchair,” Wendy explained.
And her journey continues today.
Last spring Wendy became a bride.
And like any bride-to-be she wanted the perfect wedding gown.
“That was actually a big epiphany for me, I haven’t worn dresses since my accident,” said Wendy.
Now a wife and step-mother, Wendy remains committed to transforming the stereotype of women in wheelchairs from having limited abilities to having limitless opportunities.
“They can be artists, they can be mothers, they can be wives, they can be politicians,” she says. “I want people to see how amazing they are, how strong they are, and all that they can accomplish.
Over the years Wendy Crawford has organized events that have raised thousands of dollars for spinal cord research, including raising money for the Christopher Reeve Foundation.
We’ve set up a link to Wendy’s organization.
RELATED LINKS: mobileWOMEN.org