Miss Inland Empire: From a Wheelchair to the Stage

From a Wheelchair to the Miss California Stage:

Miss Inland Empire’s Story of Hope, Determination, and Inspiration

“Every adversity… every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.” ~Nathan Hill

So often we are told to cherish those closest to us, and to live everyday as if it were our last. Most times those words are said in vain but for me those words have become a way of life. I live everyday as if it were my last because I was told five years ago that I had taken my last step, said my last word, and potentially took my last breath.

Hello my name is Madison Givens and I have the amazing honor of representing my home as Miss Inland Empire 2015. My title and journey to Miss California has given me the opportunity to share my story, touch, inspire and save lives.

Five years ago I was a 4.0 student, a nationally and internationally recognized dancer, aspiring to be a doctor and in the prime of my life. In a matter of seconds, all of my dreams came to a screeching halt. I was involved in a life threatening cheerleading accident that led to a sports acquired traumatic brain injury, which fractured my skull, tore my dura-membrane sack causing a spinal fluid leak, known as CSF Rhinorrhea. As a result, my brain herniated downward, also called a Chiari Malformation, and I lost the ability to walk and talk. I spent a year in bed rehabilitating. Doctors call me a walking miracle!

When most people hear my story their initial reaction is one of sorrow or helplessness, and my goal is to remove that stigma and bring hope. While I am considered a disabled American, I do not feel like that label defines me. Since my injuries I have found a true calling, and have flourished with the help of the Miss America Organization. I have gained scholarships in order to continue my education, I have gained confidence in my public speaking skills and most importantly I have made life-long friendships, the people I have met, through the organization, are some of my biggest supporters! I have also created a traumatic brain injury prevention program called, The Green Helmet Campaign. My programs main goal is to one day eradicate all traumatic brain injuries but for the time being, its purpose is education, prevention, and inspiration.

After going through the trauma of my head injury and struggling to accomplish life’s simplest tasks; I realize the importance of educating others. My case shows the imminent need for advancements in diagnostic research. Today, after five years of rehabilitation and research, The Green Helmet Campaign has come to fruition. Numerous medical care providers, coaches, athletes and parents aided in the culmination of this amazing endeavor.

Hope for the world comes through the gifts and abilities of those who care. Every thing happens for a reason and I believe that I went through my injuries in order to have the opportunity to instill hope in others, disabled or not. I now see my injuries as a gift because they have allowed me the opportunity to have a platform that I can whole-heartedly embrace and more importantly my injuries have allowed me to reach others. This is not to say that my injuries were not horrific, because they were, but more importantly it is pointing towards the amazing fact that I can be a voice and bring hope to others. No one should ever have to experience what I did; and I hope that I can serve as an inspiration to those suffering from any type of illness, or disease. My Green Helmet Campaign is proof that nothing is impossible. My campaign has not only been a tool for me to help assist others but it has also helped me through the healing process. By using my testimony, and platform it has helped me connect and find others who have similar stories. Through our stories we can accomplish so much.

In closing one of my favorite quotes by author Albert Pine, “What you do for yourself dies with you, what you do for others and the world remains and is immortal” This quote embodies exactly what my Green Helmet Campaign’s purpose is.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out the videos below and take a look at my website, like us on Facebook, Instagram (@greenhelmetcampaign), and Twitter (@greenhelmet9)!



Madison Givens

Miss Inland Empire 2015