Ms. Wheelchair America Advocacy Competition 2022 – Will You Help Me Pay It Forward?

Dearest Friends and Family,

In light of the pandemic still raging on I do hope you were each able to spend some cherished time with your families over the holidays and are off to a great start to your New Year.

As many of you already know I was crowned Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2022 in November of 2021. Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina is an advocacy competition aimed at encouraging women with physical mobility impairments to compete in a competition based on advocacy achievements or advocacy goals in order to make their communities more inclusive.

I was humbled to be crown titleholder for 2022 on the platform of Health Insurance Advocacy.  After 11 years of being denied medically necessary equipment I needed to not only survive in life, but to thrive I had had enough.  I decided to take my healthcare into my own hands and taught myself how to write strategic letters of medical necessity backed up by peer-reviewed journal articles and how to navigate the health insurance appeals process.  After a string of my own successes, I decided to take my work national to partner with organizations such as the Christopher Reeve Foundation, United Spinal, Local Elected Officials to introduce legislation in 2022, and am presently working with a large nonprofit to host a detailed step-by-step patient guide to the Health Insurance Appeals Process.  All my efforts are centered around helping those with disabilities acquire the medically necessary equipment they need in their lives so they can live it with the utmost Dignity!

I live by two philosophies in life: Paying it Forward & Human Kindness.

I am now set to compete in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the summer of 2022 against 35 other states at Ms. Wheelchair America.  I’m really excited for all of the tremendous work I have been involved in and partnering with incredible advocates around the globe.  I am writing you today to ask if you would take a moment to help support me in my effort to raise funds to participate in the national competition.

It’s not just about raising funds, but it’s about spreading the word and creating an education campaign to thousands around the globe who are unfamiliar with what these incredible advocacy competitions are all about.  Ms. Wheelchair America is an advocacy competition, not a beauty competition, which celebrates the advocacy achievements of women with physical mobility impairments.  It stands for powerful women with disabilities fighting for change in their communities.

Many of us with disabilities face incredible challenges on a daily basis and many of us still find ways to give back to our community because we simply won’t settle for less!  We are each trying to live our lives with dignity and respect and sometimes we need to push harder for systemic change to make this a reality in our own lives.  This is what this competition is all about and why I have created a Go Fund Me Page.

Please Help me Achieve my Goal, Spread the Message, Share my link, and Follow me on my Journey!

Go Fund Me Page:  https://gofund.me/07049f05

Thank you in advance for your support and I look forward to taking you along for this incredible journey of life I embark on every single day to change the world!

With Love,

Ali Ingersoll

CBS Live Interview – Healthcare Policy Change

I am truly beyond humbled and incredibly honored that CBC17 News crew in Raleigh came out to my home to do a story on Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2022 and the efforts many of us are making in trying to reform healthcare policy within the insurance system.

“Self Advocacy” is the single driving mission I have in my life to help others with disabilities not only survive in their life, but thrive through aiding them in getting the medically necessary equipment and services they need in their own lives!

This will always be a long-term advocacy project of mine and I will not stop until we see systemic change, but in the meantime, we need to navigate the broken system we presented with, which takes a village of disability advocates standing up for the masses!

Without Further Ado:

My Journey of Being Crowned Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2022

The culmination of my life’s work thus far to being crowned Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2022 in November 2021 is one of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, determination, support, and unrelenting determination …

… People frequently question how I have arrived to where I am today to be a professional, disability advocate, mentor, and a ferociously “Pleasantly Persistent” woman with the motto: “NO is just a starting negotiation point.”

…. Through all of this I was approached to apply to run for Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina in November, 2021. I met some incredible ladies who are now lifelong friends and I had such an amazing weekend. My specific platform for the competition was health insurance advocacy for medically necessary durable medical equipment …

… Don’t get me wrong, it’s an honor to have won this competition and I will compete in July 2022 for Nationals, but it really was and is the collaboration between individuals with disabilities that sparks my pure joy! …

…. Here is one quote I live by “Luck is the Residue of Design” – if you design your life in such a way to constantly have opportunities presented to you even if other opportunities fail, you have a higher probability of “Lucky” things happening for you.

With that, wish me luck at Nationals, but the work will not stop over the next eight months.  I have so many big plans, many of which I’m sure will lead me down unfamiliar roads, but I’m making sure I have plans A-Z in place at every turn to course correct in my own life. This is the key to lasting change and success …

Read the rest on Push Living Magazine:

ABC 11 – News Story – Ms. Wheelchair NC 2022

I’m so honored and extremely grateful for a shout out from the team, especially Diane Wilson, at abc11 News on the healthcare advocacy work I am working on in the community and my Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2022 title this past weekend !

https://abc11.com/ms-wheelchair-nc-2022-raleigh/11243052/

PODCAST with Kevin Lowe

I was the guest on a super cool podcast with the most amazing gentleman named Kevin Lowe.

Kevin has an incredible story in his own right and he certainly makes the most of life with his incredibly quirky, and hilarious sense of humor.

Kevin too, shares a disability with me, but his is in the realm of sight. He is blind and has navigated his life so eloquently, with grace, and a ton of humor.

We had such a fabulous time during this podcast that I felt like I was chatting with an old friend who I had known for years!I would love for you to check out his podcast and start listening to him!

How Expensive is it to be a Quadriplegic? A Grim Reality

Becoming a quadriplegic and being paralyzed from the chest down may appear to be the most challenging life altering event many may ever go through in their life.  However, leaving aside the endless secondary complications that can arise from living a life with paralysis such as pressure sores, nerve pain, respiratory issues, osteoporosis, infections, bowel obstructions, bladder incontinence, to name a few, can, often times, pale in comparison to the financial burdens associated with living a life with paralysis.  The financial hardships associated with any type of disability, one could argue, is more debilitating than the disability itself!

For the purposes of this article I’m going to be discussing some of the financial challenges and realities of living a life as a quadriplegic as opposed to a paraplegic.  In general, a quadriplegic needs round-the-clock care to help with basic functions such as going to the bathroom, eating, dressing, etc.  While every injury is different and there are certainly some quadriplegics who I know who live independently, I will tell you about my life in particular. 

Continue reading

Spectrum Local TV News Story – Disability Advocate Draws Attention to Lack of Inclusive Policies

I’m super excited & honored to have been featured in a news story by Spectrum News on disability inclusion in light of recent events with the paralympian who was unable to bring her caregiver, her mother, to Tokyo.

As I always say, Disability Doesn’t Discriminate — anyone can join the club for any reason and creating a globally inclusive environment whether that be in the paralympics, employment world, your community, the government, etc. should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind!

https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nc/triangle-sandhills/news/2021/08/24/disability-advocate-draws-attention-to-lack-of-inclusive-policies

Flowing East and West: The Perfectly Imperfect Journey to a Fulfilled Life all Podcast

I’m super honored to have been a guest on this incredible Podcast with two amazing ladies!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/flowing-east-and-west-the-perfectly-imperfect-journey/id1546631522

Here’s the intro of what the podcast is all about – FEET FIRST:

“Ali Ingersoll had a somewhat charmed upbringing, attending boarding school abroad, going on amazing adventures and taking advantage of every opportunity that showed up.  Then a life-changing accident happened when Ali took a head-first dive into shallow water.  Feet First not only describes Ali’s plea for anyone jumping into shallow water, but also how she has lived her life, both before and after the accident.  While she is now restricted to a wheelchair, Ali continues to live life to the fullest  – wait until you hear her dating stories (sorry, guys, she is now happily married!) – we were both laughing hysterically.  This in no way means Ali hasn’t had ups and downs – indeed, she speaks very candidly about her challenges and dark days. However, in her toughest moments, she has developed an incredible resilience and a “radical acceptance” that we cannot help being inspired by.

Ali reminded us of this quote which we think perfectly sums up how she lives her life:

Disasters lead to the best stories – Ali Ingersoll

Ali Ingersoll is a day trader, consultant, disability advocate, writer, blogger, editor, and public speaker. She started her advocacy mission after being repeatedly denied medically necessary equipment by insurance companies over the last 10 years since becoming a C6 quadriplegic and full-time wheelchair user after a shallow water diving accident.”

Ali’s passion lies in coaching people with disabilities on how to improve their quality of life by teaching them to self-advocate in order to live a life of independence, dignity, and grace.

Ali has a firm philosophy of paying it forward by giving back to the community through outreach, working together, and building each other up. She believes it’s important to band together as one in order to affect the greatest change on the national stage and in local communities.”

6 Strategies to Navigate Your Insurance Provider’s Approvals Process

As a C6 quadriplegic, I’ve spent the last decade perfecting strategies to improve my odds of success in getting the durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies I need from my health insurance provider. A few key pieces of equipment I have successfully obtained include a specialized shower chair, pressure-relieving mattress, hospital bed, FES bike, and seat elevator for my power wheelchair.

I’m not the only wheelchair user who’s figured out effective strategies for every step of the process, from prior authorization to putting together effective appeals if denied. I interviewed others who use wheelchairs, including two staff members of the United Spinal Resource Center team, to present you with the best strategies for obtaining the medically necessary DMEPOS you need to not only survive but thrive in life.

I interviewed five other advocates around the country to get their take on shared strategies we are all employing to get the medically necessary equipment need to live our best lives.

Read the rest on United Spinal’s New Mobility Magazine