Wednesday, September 19, 2012
PERSON WHO WAS SUCCESSFUL INSPITE OF DISABILITY
The new Miss America for 1995 is...(drum roll)...Heather Whitestone of Birmingham, Alabama!
There she is...Miss America. But unlike other Miss America crown holders, Heather never actually heard those words in 1995 as she was crowned. Miss Whitestone was the first person with a disability ever to be selected as Miss America. Heather had been deaf since the age of 18 months. Doctors told Heather’s parents that she would never read beyond the third grade level, nor learn to speak. In response to the judges’ question about her aim in life, she replied that she would like to assist children from all backgrounds to reach their fullest potential in life, to set high goals, and achieve them, as she had done. Heather’s special talent for the Miss America talent portion of the contest was ballet.
Heather Whitestone is currently the spokesperson for the Helen Keller Eye Research Foundation and the Starkey Hearing Aid Foundation. She has also authored a book entitled, Listening with My Heart. Ms. Whitestone is a motivational speaker who believes in and promotes following your dreams. She is now married and expecting her second child in 2001.
In 2002 she decided to have a cochlear implant operation in order to hear more fully in her right ear. The primary motivator for electing the surgery was an incident when she did not hear her son's cries for help. She said that she has not regretted her decision, thanking her family for supporting her.