by Amy Saffell
Greatness lies within us all, however sometimes we don’t recognize our potential without someone else’s help. This is the case with the newly-crowned Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts, Patti Panzarino. What started out as an ordinary trip to get her wheelchair serviced turned into much more. A woman who worked at the shop mentioned the pageant to Patti, mentioning that she happened to be on the board of directors and thought that she would be a great contestant. Patti had never thought of herself as the “pageant type.” Particularly at the age of 53, she had her reservations about a pageant, but after learning that the contest focused on advocacy and accomplishment, she began to consider the idea a little more. With the encouragement of this woman and her husband, who she married in August of 2011, Patti was eventually convinced to compete.
Although she was originally reluctant to participate, as Patti began to prepare and the days got closer, she became increasingly motivated and excited. Becoming a part of this pageant meant something to Patti, and she wanted to put her nerves aside. She was worried that her accomplishments thus far weren’t on par with the other contestants, nonetheless Patti stuck with the process.