Miss Wheelchair New Jersey Believes in Abilities
Meet Miss Wheelchair NJ Kim Biglin at Kessler Foundation’s Stroll ‘N Roll (and RUN!) on Oct. 21st.
Kim Biglin compares herself to a petunia—a vibrant and beautiful flower despite its weak stem. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy, she had to find a way to be as independent as possible from her power wheelchair.
Kim came from a single parent home. At age 14, her sister passed away from the same disease, leaving her with one older brother. Because their mother worked at least two jobs just to make ends meet, her spare time was minimal. As Kim says, her mom was strict because she had to be. Before asking for help, Kim had to give it her best try. This philosophy, Kim believes, helped her become the self-sufficient person she is today.
“Oftentimes parents of children with disabilities, as well-meaning as they are, foster dependence instead of independence because of their own fears of letting go. As individuals with disabilities, we may not be able to do something the exact same way as people without a disability, but we can find our own way to accomplish the same thing,” Kim explained. “People think that independence is being able to do everything yourself, but that’s not what it is. In life, someone is always doing something for someone else.” Kim thinks of independence as people knowing what their needs are, how to care for their needs, having the courage to make their own decisions, and knowing that they can do great things with the right tools.
Now 41, her attitude has led her to achieve great things. A singer and writer, Kim has published a collection of poems, entitled, Psalms of a Petunia. She is also working on a book about life as a person with a disability. In April 2012, she won the title of Miss Wheelchair New Jersey and competed on the national level. Having won the crown, she makes it her personal mission to get involved in various projects. When she heard about Kessler Foundation’s Stroll ‘N Roll (and RUN!), she knew it was the perfect fit.
Kim will be “rolling” along the 5K path on Sunday, October 21st at Brookdale Park, in Bloomfield/Montclair, NJ, and mingling with guests at Stroll ‘N Roll. In addition to the family-fun 5K, there are also USATF-certified 5K and 10K courses, a Kids Activity Zone, and Information Alley—featuring information from sponsors, Foundation grantees, and other disability services. All proceeds go toward rehabilitation research to help restore the function and mobility of individuals with spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and multiple sclerosis as well as grant funding to programs that create or expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. To register for Stroll ‘N Roll (and RUN!), visit www.kesslerfoundation.org/SNR.
“The mission of Kessler Foundation is right up my alley,” Kim declared. “I’m really excited for Stroll ‘N Roll and knowing that it helps people with disabilities makes it even better.”
Kim lives in her own apartment in Glassboro, NJ. An active member in her church, she teaches Sunday school and sings on its worship team. She’s also a Certified Christian Life Coach and helps people overcome their challenges.
When asked what is her greatest accomplishment—a question asked of her at the Miss Wheelchair pageant, she replies, “I don’t think I’ve done it yet. I don’t think about what I’ve already accomplished. I’m always looking ahead to the next thing. We’re only as good as what we do next.”
As Kim continues on her journey, she’ll remember the lessons of her mother—to always try before giving up. She goes back to her symbol of a petunia: “Our bodies may be weak but we are still beautiful and can make an impact on the world.”