(WRCB) -- A local woman who suffers from muscular dystrophy first started feeling muscle weakness when she was sixteen. She has since been confined to a wheelchair, and now she's standing up for those with disabilities.

Bliss Welch, 32, was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee in March. She's also a mother, and she's using those skills to teach people that it's ok to be different.

"We all have something that we have to embrace and accept. It might not be as visible as me being in a wheelchair, but we all have issues to overcome," Bliss said.

That's the message she wants to teach the world. She's been running with it since she won the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee crown.

"It's not your typical pageant. It's not a beauty pageant. It's about finding a spokesperson for people with disabilities," Bliss said.

Bliss's mother, Sheila Stockard, told Channel 3 she's not surprised by her daughter's success. "She's just not going to let any of this drag her down. She's always just achieved every goal she's set for herself, and we couldn't be more proud," she said.
Bliss is a mother herself. She's started teaching her 19 month old daughter, Annabelle, what she wants to teach everyone else.

"I think that she's just going to grow up to be a very caring and accepting individual because of watching my situation," Bliss said.

Part of her platform as Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee is making sure kids know to accept people with disabilities. She goes around to local schools and talks to kids about being disabled.

"It's just important for people who don't have somebody in their family with a disability to meet people that have disabilities and to understand that they can still do everything that anybody else can do. We just have to do it a little bit differently," Bliss said.

She learned that winning attitude from her mother. "She has always taught all three of her children that we can do or be whatever we want to be," Bliss said.

The sky is the limit for Bliss. With the help of her family, she hopes to take her message across the nation and win the crown of Ms. Wheelchair America this summer.

You can help bliss reach her goal of raising awareness about people with disabilities... and to win Ms. Wheelchair America. She needs to raise $1,850 dollars to compete, and she wants to do it dollar by dollar. If everyone donates a dollar, she can spread the message to 1,850 people.

You can find out more information on her Facebook page.