Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska gives hope and help to others

Aubrey Freeze is the current Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska. She's on a mission to make sure other wheelchair users have the support system they need. "When I was first injured, I really needed someone to talk to, I really needed a mentor," Freeze said. "I want to be able to do that for other people."

When she was 17, Freeze was injured in a car accident. She was living in Gothenburg at the time. "I thought I was invincible, and I didn't think anything bad would happen to me, and I got into a car when I shouldn't have gotten into a car," Freeze said. The next thing she knew, she was lying in a field in January, unable to feel her legs. "I got in the accident, and now I'm paralyzed from the waist down," Freeze said. "I have a T-10 spinal cord injury, which means I have no movement or feeling."

Freeze went to Craig hospital in Denver to learn about her new life. "I had to really come to terms with the fact that this was a permanent injury, and I will be using a wheelchair the rest of my life, unless there is some miraculous medical intervention," Freeze said. After the accident, Freeze says she felt sad and isolated. "I was from Gothenburg, and I didn't really find other wheelchair users, specifically women who use wheelchairs."

But Freeze was able to realize that people can navigate life in a wheelchair. Now she lives in Clay Center, with her sons Bentley and Waylon, and husband Andrew. And she's serving as Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska after getting a call from a woman with the national organization. "She had asked if I would represent Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska because they were looking for a title holder, and we don't have a state program," Freeze said. The state hasn't had a Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska title holder for several years, and Freeze hopes to get this opportunity started again. "I am the current title holder, and after my reign is over, I will try to be the state coordinator for Nebraska," Freeze said. "I will be working to find someone for next year to be the title holder."

Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska 2019 says her goal is to be an advocate for those using wheelchairs. And she wants to take her positive message to kids in schools. "I actually went to a school and spoke to some kids, and the questions I got were so cute, because they weren't afraid of me," Freeze said. "They have an inquisitive mind, and they are so willing to accept differences. I think we really need to start with young kids." Freeze says she wants to be someone wheelchair users can talk to, and find some help and comfort. "I definitely want them to know that you can navigate this life with a disability, that you can still go out and have a life, a career, and a family," Freeze said. "I know people who travel the world using a chair. They do it a little bit differently, but they still can go have a full, adventurous life."

If you'd like to be considered for Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska 2020, or if you just want to talk with Aubrey Freeze, you can email her at mwcnebraska2019@gmail.com or call her at (308) 529-3627.