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 Lauren Compere takes second at Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant


 August 3, 2015
The Clarion-Ledger
Written by Andy Kanengiser
 
Congratulations from friends keep pouring in after Lauren Compere finished in second-place at the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant in Iowa.
 
“So many ladies were so deserving of this great honor,’’ Compere said Monday while traveling back to her native Mississippi. “It was a true honor to get chosen second place.’’
 
For contestants like Compere, a Mississippi College senior, the busy week of interviews, leadership seminars, and fun-filled events ended with a winner crowned at the August 1 pageant in Des Moines.
 
But the 22-year-old Madison resident will continue to be an advocate for people with disabilities wherever she goes.
 
“I am thankful that God has provided this opportunity to truly connect on a deep level with a large group of people with disabilities,’’ says the Mississippi College psychology major.
 
The Mississippian loved every minute of her pageant week that began with a welcome from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. In late July, the ladies rolled in a large group to the city’s Science Center, took pictures, and pressed on as advocates for people with disabilities.
 
“After a few days, this truly feels like a family with whom we can share our struggles, fears and joy,’’ Compere says.
 
First diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a six-month-old, Lauren has spent almost her entire life in a wheelchair. She needs help to eat meals. But her parents taught her to view her situation as an opportunity.
 
The Mississippi College student remains a daily source of inspiration to her classmates, family and friends. In recent months, Lauren promoted her “Building Bridges’’ platform to church groups, schools and disability training sessions all over metro Jackson.
 
Her Mississippi College experience encouraged the “A’’ student to enter the Ms. Wheelchair Mississippi pageant and capture the crown in early January. She serves as an intern in the Baptist-affiliated university’s disabilities office.
 
Her Iowa pageant visit through early August connected the Christian woman with new disability leaders in the Hawkeye State. Family members and friends joined her for the trip to Des Moines.
 
“All of these women are winners,’’ says family friend Mary Blaine.
 
“They are world changers and strong advocates. I am honored to be surrounded by so many extraordinary people.’’
 
Lauren will never forget her “amazing’’ week at the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant.
 
The contestants from 28 states “understand each other’s challenges,’’ Blaine says. “All of these women are leaders.’’
 
Over the years, Compere has turned her disability into a triumph. With her bright smile, she shares hope and God’s love with people facing struggles.
 
The Madison Central High graduate clearly has her family in her corner, Mary Blaine says. “Lauren’s family has been incredibly supportive her entire life.’’
 
Lauren feels blessed by the tremendous support she’s received from family, friends and many others on her journey to success.
 
POSTED: 8/5/2015