Reaghan is 15 years old and was born with Spina Bifida. Reaghan has paralysis and cannot feel much below her knees. She primarily uses a walker and AFOs to get around and for long distances she may use a scooter. This hasn’t stopped her and she has always been extremely independent. She believes that she can do anything everyone else can do! …she just may do it differently.
She is an honor roll student enrolled in AVID classes, participates in choir, 5K’s, equestrian sports, cheer squad, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, named Texas Miss Amazing 2016 and went to Chicago to compete and brought home the National Title!
When she was in 5th grade she wanted to join her friends on the playground; however, there wasn’t an accessible sidewalk to the playground so with a walker that presented many unsafe challenges. One day, Reaghan talked about it with one of her teachers and the teacher recommended she write the principal requesting an accessible sidewalk be installed…so she did! The principal listened to Reaghan’s feedback and a new sidewalk was installed within a week. Her mother asked Reaghan why she bothered to do it at the end of the school year when she would be graduating and going to another school. Her reason was simply that there are other handicap children that attended the school and are younger than her and now they would have access like everyone else.
This is when the fire was ignited! That summer Reaghan decided she wanted to start her own non-profit awareness campaign. October is Spina Bifida Awareness month so that following October, Reaghan handed out about 50 yellow bracelets to classmates and the response was overwhelming. In its first year over 100 bracelets were given out and worn in support of Spina Bifida Awareness. With encouragement of her friends and family, The Yellow Out Campaign (TYOC) was officially born. Reaghan worked diligently on her own logo and message. The next year she had shirts made and sold over 250. She has received support from the Houston Rockets as well as local celebrities (even Paula Dean). Both the junior high and high school have a designated Yellow Out Day for Spina Bifida. More than half of the school wore yellow in support this year and Reaghan’s goal is to make it bigger within the school district. Reaghan is already making plans and talking with school administrators to have it become a recognized day in the school district. I have no doubt she will make it happen!
In 2015 while at the Abilities Expo in Houston, Reaghan met a new organization, The Texas Miss Amazing pageant which celebrates the abilities of girls and women with disabilities. Reaghan decided to give it a try. She didn’t win the Texas title the first year but remained actively involved and decided to try again in 2016. She won the Texas title and went on to compete at the national pageant in Chicago. It was such a wonderful experience! And, Reaghan came home with the national title!! She is the first Texas queen to win. She takes her responsibilities very seriously as a representative and enjoys getting out and talking to those in the disabled community.
She is an active equestrian. She has competed in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Top Hands event for the last 5 years. She placed first in Trail this year and received a buckle for her achievements. She has done several 5Ks (with some coming up) as well as been on a cheer squad. She even water skis. Her next activity she wants to try is clay shooting.
Reaghan loves speaking to people and encouraging them. She wants to be more involved with motivational speaking and she’s hoping that Night of Superstars will afford her an opportunity to be more involved, so she can impact more people. Despite her own disability, she has gone beyond limits and sets the example of her message “Be Yourself, Love Yourself, Express Yourself, and Empower Yourself”.