Saturday, April 12, 2008

First disabled contestant in Miss USA pageant

As Miss Iowa, Abbey Curran, 20, competed in the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas April 11, making her "the first person born with a disability to compete in a Miss USA contest," according to CBS' "The Early Show." Access Hollywood also did a report about her, with a syrupy headline "Miss USA Miracle!" (Miss Texas Crystle Stewart won the pageant.)

Born with cerebral palsy that affects her balance while walking, Curran "was told as a child she would never walk without holding onto something," according to CBS.

Curran is a sophomore at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, with a full course load, and she also takes piano and flying lessons. Curran says she is enjoying learning how to pilot a plane.

"It's a blast; it's fun," Curran told CBS. "I can't run that well so to be in a plane that just soars through the skies, it's amazing."

Curran has placed in more than five pageants and developed a non-profit pageant for young girls and women with special needs and challenges, according to a St. Ambrose release. The Miss You Can Do It Pageant has been held for five years, and Curran would like to take the pageant national at some point.