Seven years after losing her ability to walk, 28-year-old Erika Bogan returned home to Huntersville this week as the new Ms. Wheelchair America.
"Just because you're in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can't accomplish, and she's done it,” said the winner’s mother, Rebecca Nichols, who greeted her daughter at the airport.
Thirty minutes away in Huntersville, neighbors waited to welcome Bogan with signs and smiles. The scene for Ms. Wheelchair America is much different in 2009 than it was seven years ago, when a domestic violence-related car crash left her paralyzed from the knees down.
Bogan now looks at it as a positive event in her life.
"This wheelchair is such a blessing to me, and being in the accident I was in was a blessing,” she explained. “I wouldn't be where I am and I definitely wouldn't be who I am if it wouldn't have ever happened."
That’s the message Bogan took with her to the national competition last week in South Dakota. It helped her take the top spot among the 27 women competing.