Gimp Girls Rule - Miss Buddy Hayes, CTRS & Ellie
Buddy is a retired Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and special education teacher. Having earned her degree at Tidewater Community College in Recreation Leadership and her bachelor's in Recreation,Leisure Services and P.E. from Virginia Wesleyan College provided a solid educational basis. Buddy has worked with a wide variety of persons with disABILITIES from persons with mental retardation, brain injured adults, to toddlers in special education. This combination of education and experience was an asset when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. A fall that resulted in a severe blow to the head was the first indication that something was wrong. Long hospitalizations, therapy and long term care were all challenges that Buddy met head on with a positive attitude. Having been the one to provide services to persons with disabilities it was now her turn to receive those same services. An active outgoing person, Buddy was not one to take the challenge of MS lying down! She worked on rehab despite many medical setbacks and kept her spirits high. Now she brings her life experiences to others to educate and inspire them!
Community Service
Volunteering has always been of part of Buddy's life. Before being diagnosed with MS when was active in her community. She continues to find ways to volunteer. Buddy became involved with Team in Training which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A grant from Challenged Athletes helped her continue racing. She has raised over $13,000 for the charity in her Dad's memory. Buddy competed in three 1/2 marathons and two full marathons for Team in Training.She won 2 half and 2 full marathons and many local 5K races along the way. Buddy had also raised over $6,000 for the National MS Society with the MS Challenge Walks and local MS walks. Buddy was the first person to push a manual wheelchair unassisted in the MS Challenge Walk- 3 days- 50 miles. Buddy raised over $1,000 for CCI with her "Pushin' For Paws" race. She won the MS Leaders of Hope Award in 2005 for her idea to assist with driving directions for persons with MS. In 2006 she was awarded the Virginian Wesleyan College Alumni Award for service to her college and community. In 2007 she was honored to be named Ms. Wheelchair Virginia. In 2008 Buddy was chosen as the Hero for CCI's NE Region as the Hearts and Heroes Gala  NY.
Ms. Wheelchair Virginia
On April 14, 2007 Buddy was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Virginia. She competed in the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant in MD in July 07' and was awarded the Todd Mullins Courage Award for the best platform speech. Her platform was: Sports and Recreation for EveryBODY! and is something she is very passionate about. Her motto is: Desire to Inspire! With her humor and love of life she has the audience on the edge of their seats from the moment she begins to speak. With Ellie, her service dog, at her side Buddy made over 75 personal appearances during her reign to educate and inspire persons to be all they can be. An Army veteran Buddy has the drive and motivation to get the job done and all with a smile!
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