MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In April 2019, Jasmine Gannaway was hit by a vehicle from behind. She had to have both of her legs amputated above the knee and has been in a wheelchair ever since.
Now, Gannaway is using her experience to inspire others. She's been selected to represent Tennessee in the 2022 Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant.
"I liked what the organization was doing," says Gannaway. "They're for individuals with disabilities, mental and physical disabilities. I've never been in a pageant or done anything like that, so I really thought this opportunity would be a good thing for me to step out of my comfort zone."
The pageant celebrates the achievements of women with disabilities, or as Gannaway says, women who are differently-abled.
"I don't like to say the word 'disabled.' I like to say 'differently-abled' because we can do anything that we put our minds to," she said. "We're just a little different."
Gannaway specifically wants to use her platform to inspire differently-abled women who want to own their own businesses.
"I have a business as well that I have started now, so I want to use my platform to encourage other individuals like me to continue to pursue their dream of entrepreneurship," she said. "Just because I am in a wheelchair doesn't mean that I can't run a Fortune 500 company. Don't let being in a wheelchair stop you."
Gannaway said she's thankful for the support she's received over the years from her family, friends, and coworkers. Now, she's hoping her hometown will support her, too.
"I'm representing the state of Tennessee, but more specifically, my hometown here in Memphis," she said. "I was born and raised here in Memphis. I've lived in Memphis all my life, so I definitely want the city to just support me."
Gannaway heads to the pageant in July. You can click here to follow her along on her journey.