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Students urged to see past disabilities
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Kanika Davis, Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2014, speaks Friday to students at Patrick Henry Elementary School.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2014 Kanika Davis and several other current and former Ms. Wheelchair state or regional title-holders on Friday delivered messages of hope, perseverance and acceptance at Patrick Henry Elementary School.

Davis lives in Lynchburg and is employed as a transition counselor with the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, according to a news release. She received a master’s degree in professional counseling from Liberty University.

The release adds: “When not working, Kanika enjoys traveling, going to community events, volunteering with Young Leaders Society through United Way and making accessory jewelry. She uses a wheelchair due to sustaining a spinal cord injury during a surgical procedure at the age of 15.”

Her platform of advocacy is “Life Beyond Limits,” and her motto of inspiration is “Putting Wheels in Motion.”

During the Patrick Henry assembly, Davis and others focused on what they can do, not what they can’t do — taking the “dis” out of “disability.” For example, Davis said she works, drives a car, swims, bowls, shoots baskets and visits friends, among other things. She has a ramp at her home and no stairs, but at other places that don’t have ramps or elevators, people sometimes carry her up steps, she said.

“ ... Never give up because you can do anything you want to,” she told the students. She also advised them to enjoy life and to treat everyone with respect.

“Never say you can’t,” said Brittany Yates of Bassett, Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2013.

Other wheelchair-bound speakers were Whitney Stone, Ms. Wheelchair 2014 Martinsville/Henry County; Pam Cobler, Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2004 and co-executive director of Ms. Wheelchair Virginia; and Kacie Hodges, 2014 Little Miss Wheelchair Ambassador of Rocky Mount. Two other title-holders who spoke are not wheelchair-bound: Blair Oakley, Miss Commonwealth Virginia Preteen 2014 of Martinsville, and Kionna Mills, Junior Teen Miss Virginia of Martinsville.

A number of Patrick Henry students asked questions, such as how a wheelchair-bound person swims or about the pageant.

“You can overcome anything. All these people are very successful,” Principal Zeb Talley told the students.


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