Girl, 11, With Cerebral Palsy Struts Down Runway With Walker in National Beauty Pageant
This 11-year-old with cerebral palsy doesn't let her disability define her. In fact, her abilities, including strutting down the catwalk at her first national pageant, tell the story of who she really is.
Ashley McCoy, a sixth grader from Woodward, Oklahoma, competed on stage at the National American Miss pageant earlier this week.
Crowds chanted her name as Ashley debuted on the catwalk in the Junior Pre-Teen division of the annual beauty pageant.
"It means everything to see her pursue her dream," her dad, Scott McCoy, told InsideEdition.com. "She walked the runway, which was a very long walk for her."
That's because the 11-year-old has spastic quadratic cerebral palsy, and walked with the assistance of her walker.
She also performed a song on the piano, a hobby she took up as therapy for her condition.
"It felt good, and I was happy," Ashley said.
Her dad explained she has had several surgeries for her cerebral palsy, and because her left hip was quickly deteriorating, doctors said she will need more surgeries in the future.
But, Ashley said she hardly felt any pain while walking onstage.
Her father explained that just a year ago, Ashley had a hard time coming out of her shell, and almost never spoke to strangers.
"Now she's on stage," Scott said. "It's helped her confidence a lot."
He now hopes his daughter's newfound confidence will help her reach her dream of one day becoming a veterinarian.
Kathleen Mayes, the national director of National American Miss, said, "We are so proud of Ashley. Watching her walk on stage was easily the best moment of the pageant."
While Ashley didn't place in the competition, she was voted Miss Personality for her friendliness by her fellow competitors.