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Beauty pageant winner inspires with her courage and joy

Anna Płoszyńska/ facebook

Anna Płoszyńska/ facebook

Anna Płoszyńska/ facebook

Marta Dybińska - published on 05/18/24

Anna Płoszyńska won the title of 2nd Vice Miss Wheelchair World in 2022. In an interview she talks about being active and positive despite her disability.

When Anna Płoszyńska was just 17 years old, she was active and athletic. Then she had an accident at a sports camp that caused severe spinal cord damage, leaving her paraplegic. She hasn’t stopped being active; instead, she has participated in a beauty pageant (coming in third place) and continues to engage in sports adapted to her condition. She swims, dances, and races. Reporter Marta Dybińska interviewed her for Aleteia.

Her professional life

Marta Dybińska: A few moments before our interview you returned from work. What do you do for a living?

Anna Płoszyńska: Since I finished my studies I’ve wanted to pursue a profession as a dental technician. I also wanted to be independent, above all. Fortunately for me, I was able to find a job quite quickly. In fact, in my second year of graduate studies I was already working in the profession. Now I’m out of college, working for a company that makes dentures — designing dentures with 3D technologies and metalworking.

Has your professional life changed since you received the title of II Vice Miss Wheelchair World?

Płoszyńska: It hasn’t really changed, except that everyone at work congratulated me. My professional life looks the same. I’ve already received a lot of orders for dentures, so I have to focus intensely on work. Occasionally, someone will stop me and ask if I was the runner-up in Miss Wheelchair World. I’ve become a little more recognizable. It is nice that some people know me.

Staying active

Before your accident you also had a black belt in karate, and won several medals at the World and European Championships. Nothing is impossible for you, is it!

Płoszyńska: I want to show that everything is possible, that nothing is impossible. If people hear something about me, I hope it will contribute a little to changing the perception of people with disabilities.

I admire you very much; you are extremely active. Where do you get so much energy?

Płoszyńska: Sometimes I myself wonder where I get so much energy (laughs). I think I have a sense of an inner mission to fulfill, to prove that there are no limits in our lives and we can do anything we want.

I was an athlete for a long time. Before the accident I trained in karate; I still have the soul of an athlete. Now I’ve taken up swimming, and before that I took ballroom dancing lessons. I want to be doing something all the time. I don’t like to be bored, and I don’t like to be passive; I like it when something is happening. Sometimes I’m also tired, but still in the long run “doing nothing” is tiring for me.

Facing disability with courage

Did you feel depressed after the accident?  

Płoszyńska: I didn’t have a period of breakdown or depression as such, because from the beginning I didn’t think my life was over. I knew that it would be different, that I would have to sort everything out in my head, but I also knew that I could live and enjoy life. Also, I wanted to become independent from the beginning, and this also helped me cope.

How do you deal with the most difficult moments?

Płoszyńska: Like everyone, I have moments of weakness and helplessness. And sometimes when I have a more difficult day, when my back hurts or my legs get very tense, I get fed up with everything. Then I feel like crying into a pillow. However, I pick myself up very quickly and keep trying to move forward.

And after the accident did you have a grudge against God?

Płoszyńska: I tried not to say “what if…” I was thinking more in terms of how things could always be worse: that I could not be here, that I could’ve damaged my spine higher up … I tried to see the positives in what happened.

Now I think that maybe God did this so that I could also help others and so that I could motivate others to do things, because not everyone has such a strong psyche and handles difficult times well. And I think I can also inspire them with my example.

Healthy self-image

In the past, did you ever have hang-ups about yourself?

Płoszyńska: I’ve always been a person who likes myself. And I haven’t really had too many hang-ups. I try to make sure that no one messes with my head. It was always said in the family that I had no reason to have hang-ups.

Did that change at all after the accident?

Płoszyńska: After the accident, I had moments when I considered myself inferior. I had to work through it all in my head. I created a lot of stories for myself, and they weren’t necessarily true. But at this moment I’m confident: I believe in my abilities and in myself. I hope to help women who are in a similar situation to believe in themselves and to know that they can be beautiful despite the fact that they have a disability, for example.

What does disability mean to you?

Płoszyńska: I don’t look at myself through the lens of my disability. In fact, my disability only manifests itself when my environment is not adapted to my needs.

Relationship with her boyfriend and family life

Would you like to become a mother?

Płoszyńska: I would like to. I’m thinking about starting a family in the future. Both of us are thinking about it. My disability doesn’t prevent me in any way from starting a family. And after taking care of my nephew, I know that I could manage.     

And would you like to get married in church?

Płoszyńska: We are both religious people. We would like to get married in the Church, baptize our children and raise them in the Catholic faith.

You have a good relationship with your dad. Has it always been like this?

Płoszyńska: My dad has supported me since I was a child, because my mother died when I was eight years old. Since then I was raised only by my dad. He has always supported me, and he has been both mom and dad to me. After my accident, he was also a huge support. And that’s how it is to this day. Now we also support my brother, as he is struggling with very serious health problems.

Realism and joy

Is there any hope that you will one day stand on your own feet?

Płoszyńska: No. I can’t feel my legs or move them at all. My spinal cord damage is so serious that unfortunately, without the development of new medicine, I’m not able to improve my condition in any way.

Let’s go back to the pageant. Did you have any premonitions?

Płoszyńska: I had a quiet hope that I would be able to win the title. At the Final Gala itself, once they read out the titles, I was getting more and more hopeful that I would win one of the main ones, because initially they read out the complementary titles, and they didn’t say my name. I concluded, since they didn’t read my name out, I had a better chance to win one of the main titles. And that’s what happened. They announced me as 2nd Vice Miss Wheelchair World.

What then?

Płoszyńska: Joy, happiness, and emotion that I was appreciated, that someone noticed me.

Tags:
DisabilitiesInspiring storiesPolandWomen
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