Asheville woman is already Ms. Wheelchair USA, is American Idol next?
Madeline Delp, our Person of the Week, never gave up and hopes to use her platform as Ms. Wheelchair USA to help empower people with disabilities. Her life is like a picture worth a thousand words of motivation.
"And I think one of the main things I hold onto every day to motivate me is gratitude," said Delp, whose stack of snapshots give her so much to grateful for.
Madeline's crowning achievement isn't the crown. She refused to be defined by a childhood photo.
"Here is me, right after the car accident," she said, showing us a picture after a devastating wreck in Fletcher. "And, yeah, I was pretty beat up."
"When I was 10 years old, I was in a car accident, and I was thrown forward so violently so that the seatbelt crushed part of my spine," she explained. "And looking into this picture is like I'm looking into a different life. It doesn't even seem real."
She hasn't walked since.
"You know that life is never going to be the same," she said. "You never want to focus on the lack because that's all you'll feel in life."
The Ms. Wheelchair USA title gives her a platform to empower people.
"You're representing people with disabilities all around the nation," she said. "And being that voice that, 'Hey, no matter what you're going through and no matter what your challenge is, you can still thrive.'"
"Wow, I've really been able to turn what was one of the most painful and devastating things," she said.
You can sum her up in two words. "Living Boundless" is the name of her series that gives us another inspiring visual, whether it's sky diving or traveling to Mexico.
"I was there because I was volunteering for an orphanage for children with disabilities," she said. "It's going to educate people on how they can adapt to all areas of life with a disability."
She's hosting an Asheville fundraising event to produce the 25-part series. It's 6-9:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at Highland Brewery.
The voice of people who are wheelchair bound will soon take that voice to a new venue.
"Well, I'm actually registered to audition for American Idol. Yeah, I'm going to do that!" she said of her Aug 21 audition in downtown Asheville.
"And way down we go, way down we go," she sings, belting out a few lines from "Way Down We Go" by Kaleo.
Despite the shots that document a painful journey, that's what resilience looks and sounds like.
"I'm grateful for what happened because it has made me into a person that I am proud to be," she said.