Ms. Wheelchair South Carolina gets ready to compete

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Twenty-three-year-old Jarae Anderson is not living life sitting down despite being in a wheelchair.

Rather, she's reaching tall for her dreams and her employer, Palmetto Goodwill, is helping make her dreams come true.

Coworkers say Anderson has an infectious energy and that she works hard in the backroom of the store, always with a smile on her face.

"I organize clothes, colorized them, and hang clothes up and it's awesome. I love it," said Anderson.

Things for Anderson haven't always been easy. In 1997, she was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down.

"I was very sad and lonely. I felt alone in the world. I never been around anyone with a disability and I didn't know how to handle it," Anderson said.

She soon learned there was nothing she couldn't do.

"I don't let nobody tell me no. There is always a million ways to do one thing and I know that," she said.

That includes being named Ms. South Carolina in the upcoming Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant. Anderson's work family at Goodwill is making sure she gets there.

Starting later this week, Goodwill will start a fundraiser for Anderson in their Bluffton, Beaufort, and Hilton Head Goodwill stores.

"In our stores when people come in and shop with us, we are doing a round-up so when you shop and spend $9.50 you have the option to round up that bill and then that 50 cents will go and help her," said Rebecca Collett, the spokeswoman for Palmetto Goodwill.

"If all our shoppers did that just a couple times, can you imagine? To send this woman off to compete and essentially achieve a goal she had her whole life that she didn't think was possible."

The Goodwill round-up fundraiser for Anderson will start this week and last the rest of May at select stores. People can help Anderson in her journey to the national Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant by donating online, too.

"I say never give up, never ever give up, and put yourself first -- don't worry about what other people tell you," Anderson said. "Always know that you can do it, don't worry about the looks and the stares, and how people feel about you."

The Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant is being held in Ohio in July.

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