Miss Wheelchair Canada: God will restore what was lost

How God used a tragic miscarriage and several “coincidences” to forge a beautiful sponsorship relationship

When you talk to Vahen King, who became the first ever Miss Wheelchair Canada in 2017, you immediately sense her unwavering confidence and her fiery grit. You become accustomed to her shared nuggets of wisdom, treasures from a shelf of lived truths. Her story follows a road of bumps and twists—starting with a life-altering diagnosis just a week after her engagement. A miscarriage, a beauty pageant, a dancing girl and sponsorship are the unexpected circumstances used to weave redemption into this warrior’s testimony. I had the opportunity to chat with Vahen about her story—one she is eager to share with the Compassion community.

Tell me a bit about Transverse Myelitis,
and when you were first diagnosed.

Transverse Myelitis (TM) is a neurological
disorder that’s caused by inflammation
of the spinal cord. It all began in 1999,
exactly one week after I got engaged to
my fiancé, Vaughan. I was rushed to the
hospital one morning after experiencing
excruciating pain in my chest. Within 12
hours, I was paralyzed from the chest
down. After a week of tests, I was
diagnosed with TM, with a medical
consensus that I would never walk again.
They wanted to send me to long-term
care with constant assistance, but I
refused. With the help of my doctor who
believed in me too, I was ready for
transport by the end of the month. I’ve
been in a wheelchair ever since but have
never let this define me or limit what I can
do.

Why do you think God allowed this specifically in your life?

 
I have experienced more opportunities to empower others since my diagnosis.
From the beginning of my walk with Christ, my prayer has always been for God to use
me to change the world. The pain that I’ve experienced doesn’t come close to the joy
I’ve experienced in sharing my pain with others to encourage them. I look back on the
difficult parts of my journey and can’t say I would change a thing.

“The pain that I’ve experienced doesn’t come close to the joy I’ve had in sharing my pain with others to encourage them.” 

Years later, you’ve had the opportunity to be crowned the first Miss Wheelchair Canada in 2017. How has God used this unique experience to bring glory to him?

I never wanted to be part of a gala like Miss Wheelchair Canada. When the idea was first brought to my attention by a friend, I laughed, thinking that this was no route for a woman wanting to be a minister. After prayer and consideration, I felt God was calling me to this unique platform to allow my story to be heard by a wider audience.

After entering, and later winning the title of the very first Miss Wheelchair Canada, I was not aware of the mass media attention that would swarm me after, but I embraced it. Everyone who interviews me will always hear that I give all the glory to the Lord. That was always my message, but this title has just given me a bigger audience to get this message across.

A part of your redemption story happened at the Break Forth One 2018 conference.
There is a journey that you and your husband experienced starting with a miscarriage
years ago, and ending in a child sponsorship with Compassion. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Vaughan and I tried to get pregnant about 15 years ago. I got pregnant with twins,
and at two months pregnant, I lost both babies. Fast forward 15 years, and it’s a week
before the Break Forth Conference in Edmonton. I was speaking at a church, and
during worship, I noticed this little girl named Jael 
worshiping at the front of the church—free and careless. I had a feeling that God was speaking to me through her, showing me how He sees me now. After all the mess I’d been through, He had brought me back to that childlike faith.

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