When Abbey Curran turned 2 years old, her mother noticed that when she was learning to walk, she would grab onto furniture and other stable objects in the house to use as a brace to help her take steps.
So her parents took Abbey to a physician to be evaluated, and were then told that she had a mild form of Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy is a condition that affects muscle control and coordination in about 764,000 Americans; often resulting from brain damage before birth. It can leave people unable to walk or speak in its most severe form.
In childhood, Abbey underwent surgery to lengthen her heel-cord, physical therapy to assist in gait and balance and she wore leg braces. But that didn’t keep her from living her life – she mowed the lawn, fed the hogs, and tended to the various farming chores day by day.
When she turned 16-years-old, she saw an advertisement for the Henry County Fair pageant, and she wondered if she could participate in it since she was disabled.
After many people saying she shouldn't do it and/or that she wouldn't succeed, she entered anyway.
Abbey ended up being in the top 10 and went on to win Miss Iowa in 2008. She was the first-ever woman with a disability to compete in the state competition, and the first one to win, even though previous to the competition people told her she couldn’t. She went on to also be the first disabled person to compete in the Miss USA pageant.
To stay in shape, Abbey works out 5 times a week on a stair stepper that she can lean on, opposed to a treadmill. She walks best in sneakers, but in pageants she does heels--a manageable 2 inch platform compared to the 4-5 inch skyscrapers other girls favor.
Abbey knew what a big confidence booster participating in a pageant can be for a little girl or young woman who has been written off at school and at home. That’s what led her to create the first “Miss You Can Do It” pageant in 2004-a beauty competition for children with special needs and challenges.
Abbey Curran has had many speaking engagements on educating the public about Cerebral Palsy and her story. Since then, she's been featured on the Ellen Degeneres Show, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood, Extra and CNN Headline News. She even has a documentary showing and telling the world her story.
Abbey Curran, 26 years old.
Abbey never cared for the fame, the only thing she wants is this, “I hope that people – including the children – realize that there’s no reason you can’t enter a pageant, or go to dance class, or achieve whatever it is you want to achieve.”