Wilmington, NC Film Community Comes Together to Help Young Woman Become Miss Wheelchair USA

When Madeline Delp was only 10 years old, she was t-boned by a large truck while driving home from church with her mother. While her mother only sustained minor injuries, it required the jaws of life to remove Madeline from the crumpled wreckage of the car. Madeline had sustained severe bone, muscle, and nerve trauma and was not expected to last the night. After multiple days in an intense coma, Madeline awoke to doctors telling her that she was paralyzed from the waist down, and would now have to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

After being released from the hospital, she was exposed to how life would be from now on; difficult, cumbersome, and inconvenient. Her home was not suitably acclimated to suit the needs of a paraplegic, and the members of her community and church were not willing to assist financially or even physically. Madeline was on her own with only her single mother to help her get around. As was expected, this was a very difficult financial and emotional situation for the Delp family. One of the key factors that helped them push through this time was their ability to focus on what they were grateful for, such as their love for each other and the support that they could give one another.

After years of frustratingly trying to cope with her new circumstances, Madeline Delp began to witness her life changed for the better and began to overcome the obstacles thrown at her. She was accepted to the University of North Carolina at Asheville and graduated in four years. With the help of a special leg brace, she was able to walk across the stage and personally receive her diploma. She now lives independently, has traveled abroad to Europe and Mexico, volunteers at an orphanage for disabled children, and participates in extreme sports such as skydiving and skiing. It is because of her amazing story and her ability to face adversity that she was able to be named Miss Wheelchair NC.

This is where Francine DeCoursey comes into the picture; a native of the Wilmington, NC film industry. After seeing the slow decline of the film in Wilmington, DeCoursey was eager to find a project that may revitalize the film fervor in the Lower Cape Fear Region. When Madeline Delp came to her with her story, she was overwhelmed with emotion at the resolve of this young girl and saw the opportunity to make a worthwhile production.

“I gathered my team with Productions in a Box to meet Madeline. We instantly fell in love with her indomitable spirit!”

-Francine DeCoursey

It was Madeline’s intention to make a video series entitled “Live Boundless”, in order to inspire disabled youth to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from living their lives to the fullest. Francine was now tasked with coming up with the resources to make this happen, which was not hard considering her large network of film and editing professionals. Almost immediately, volunteer camera operators, sound mixers, hair, and make-up artists, and community support in Wilmington became readily available.

So far, the team has produced an introduction video to Madeline’s project, which has helped her achieve Miss Wheelchair USA and enabled her to surf in the ocean for the first time. If you’re interested in contributing or learning more, you can visit the original article on the Star-News website, or by contacting onlocationnc@gmail.com.