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(CBS) — She’s a beauty queen with an important message.

Pearl Gannon, Miss Wheelchair Illinois, is someone you should know, reports CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield.

Gannon was eight years old when she slowly began to lose her ability to walk, from a neuromuscular disorder named CMT, and she has observed peoples’ perceptions about those in wheelchairs.

“People will see me rolling down the street. They’ll think I’m completely helpless, and I want to break those stigmas,” she says.

And she has.

The 27-year-old Chicagoan loves sports. She is active in adapted water skiing and adapted wake-boarding.Last month, she entered the Miss Wheelchair Illinois 2014 pageant and won.

The national pageant will be held in California in August.

“Despite being in a wheelchair, life isn’t over. There are so many things that are still out there for you,” Gannon says.



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