MANSFIELD -- North Central State College student Laura Sykes has been named Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2020. She was crowned during a ceremony on campus Tuesday in front of her friends, family, and classmates.
Ms. Wheelchair America originally started as a state contest in Ohio 22 years ago but has grown to the national level. Sykes will now represent people with disabilities across the state.
“I really am honored," Sykes said. "I am looking forward to mentoring spinal cord injury survivors because I’ve gone through it myself.”
On Nov. 13, 2015, a semi-truck hit the car Sykes was traveling in as a passenger. Her vertebrae were shattered leaving her paralyzed. She now wants to help educate those around Ohio about overcoming adversities.
“I chose to call my Ms. Wheelchair America platform ‘Sudden Impact.’ The title represents how a moment can impact every aspect of a person’s life and the lives of his/her family,” Sykes said. “My primary goal will be to educate, support, and encourage spinal cord injury survivors to continue achieving their dreams.”
Sykes is also a standout student at North Central State College with a 3.9 GPA. She is currently majoring in human services. She is scheduled to graduate in spring 2021.
“We are very proud of Laura and all of her accomplishments," said Dr. Dorey Diab, President of North Central State College. "She is not only a great representative of North Central State College with her academic success but also an inspiration to those all across the state of Ohio.”
Sykes will spend her time traveling around Ohio speaking on behalf of those with disabilities and sharing her courageous story. In the summer, she will compete in the Ms. Wheelchair America in Little Rock, Arkansas.