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Ms. Tennessee shares her experience with Guillan Barre

6:01 PM, Jun 27, 2013   |    comments
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An East Tennessee woman will travel to Washington DC next week to try to win the title of Ms. United States.

She's making the trip after recovering from a condition that paralyzed her.

She wears a crown as Ms. Tennessee. The title lets her share what she's learned.

"I would get out there one day and I would try to show them that facing adversity is tough and there's no promise that you're going to be better tomorrow but there is going to be a better day," Angela Conner said.

Angela Conner knows from her own experience. Her 23rd birthday started with fatigue, it got worse, she went to a doctor and ended up at UT Medical Center.

"Within 30 minutes I was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disorder called Guillian Barre. And Guillan Barre is a disease that attacks the nervous system until your nerves can't fire anymore causing paralysis. So I had to learn to walk, talk, smile, everything all over again," she said.

Most patients do eventually recover but Guillain Barre Syndrome can be fatal.

"They give your family a moment and I said Dad, I'm not ready to die. And as it went on we went on to Patricia Neal," she said. "As I sat there in my room getting checked in that was kind of like my moment where I was like regardless of what happens I am going to overcome this."

She did overcome it.

"The recovery was a long time but the 54 days of paralysis that was a trying time for sure," she said.

Her recovery continued at home.

"I have a three year old. When you have a three year old looking up at you saying Mommy pick me up or give me a bath and you can't even move you have no idea," she said.

The experience has given the pageant winner a new perspective she shares with those she meets as Ms. Tennessee.

"Through the adversities that you face in life you know you just have to overcome those and find a way and I share my story to help them do that," she said.

Angela Conner's goal was to smile again and that is a goal she has accomplished.

"The right side of my face is still paralyzed so it does droop a little but it's ok. I like the little smile I have now. It makes me who I am and it's definitely a conversation starter. It's the victory scar," she said.

She hopes her next victory will be wearing a new crown as Ms. United States.

A Summer Fun Festival in Maynardville this Saturday will help fund Angela's trip to the competition.

June 29th from 11am-5pm there will be a Summer Fun Festival at Wilson Park in Maynardville with proceeds going to help Angela on her journey toward Ms United States. There will be live music, silent auction, corn hole tournament, summer fun festival beauty pageant and food/games for the family.

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