UNION, NJ – A Union woman will again be among those competing on Sunday, Nov. 3, for the title of Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2020. 

Caitlin Goerlich, 26, said she’s competing again this year because she wants to continue to raise awareness of adaptive sports, something she’s been involved with for 20 years.  “I also think doing this competition will bring more awareness to a campaign I started called #InclusiveBitmojis, a campaign to get Bitmoji to add disability options to their app so that people with disabilities are better represented in their Bitmojis.” 

Goerlich competed in last year’s competition and she “looks forward to meeting and seeing the other ladies and girls who will be competing this year.”  Goerlich said it’s great to see the work and advocacy the other women and girls do for people with disabilities. 

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Goerlich said this year there will be a People's Choice Award at the event, where those competing are using Facebook fundraiser to raise money for Ms. Wheelchair NJ Inc. For more information click here.

More information about the #InclusiveBitmojis campaign can be found on Goerlich's blog.  She also started a YouTube channel where she posts videos about pop culture, disability awareness, previous speeches, and more.  Goerlich's YouTube channel can be found here.

Goerlich graduated from Union High School in 2011 and from Kean University with a degree in English in 2016.  For over 15 years, Goerlich was a member of the Children’s Lightning Wheels Paralympic Sports Club, an adaptive sports team based out of Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside.  “I participated on the track and field, table tennis and archery teams,” she said.  Goerlich still participates as an independent athlete and says she helps out with the Lightning Wheels team whenever she can.

About her disability, Goerlich said at the age of one, she was diagnosed with kyphoscoliosis, a combination of scoliosis and kyphosis.  When she was three years old, she underwent several surgeries.  She said complications from the surgeries left her paralyzed from the waist down.  “My official diagnosis is spinal cord injury.” 

“Even though I do have a disability and have used a wheelchair since I was about four-years old, I have never let it get in the way of the way I have lived my life.”  

Free tickets can be reserved be clicking here.