Miss Wheelchair World – The Journey

If you look at Kati, you will see a beautiful incapacitated woman in a wheelchair. If you get to know Kati, you will see an untamed spirit, a fearless soul, a source of authentic positive energy. Kati is the pure essence of what makes humans transcend into eternity. She travels through life along a unique and profound path, and as her husband, I get a free ride.

Last stop we made down this trail was; ‘Miss Wheelchair World’ in Warsaw, Poland.

Do you know what you get when you have twenty-four wheelchair using women from all over the world in one room? … A bundle of pure and untamed positive energy.

The foundation (Jedyna Taka) had their hands full but still managed to do a great job. It was a joy to see so many organizations, companies, and people coming together to create a positive event.

The women had seven long and hard days of workshops and choreography training, which led to a final gala that was stunning. However, for as impressive that the gala was, it was far from the best of what the whole event had to give.

The best by far was behind the scenes. To witness these women in action was a privilege. To be a witness to their strength, determination, and conviction was an honor and joy. There was no animosity in the air. It was like a gathering of old friends. Everybody was supporting each other. The women were not competing against each other; they were working together to create a better future for all humankind. These superwomen seem to understand what many world leaders do not comprehend; ‘that united we stand, divided we fall.’

The feeling spirit of unity was shared between all who were there; parents, siblings, spouses, friends, assistants, organizers, and crewmembers. It was humanity at his best. I felt blessed to have met these people and been able to be part of their lives and such event.

At the end of the journey, an incredible joy and an overloaded feeling of happiness overtook me. I did not see people anymore as for how they looked like; their race and not even gender, I saw them as humans. To put this all biblical way; ‘I felt as if I was between angels and saw God himself.’

The courage of the paralytic, the conviction of the incapacitated, and the strength of the physically impaired are all things that we all can learn a lot from them. Do not; let the circumstances define who you are. To live your dreams, to share and spread your love and to enjoy the moment, enjoy your life.

Henning van der Hoeven

Kati’s ‘Miss Wheelchair World Warsaw 2017’ Diary

Day 1

“True beauty is felt not seen.”

First photo shoot; spirits are high; everyone is excited and ready to rock the world. The day is long and tiring still everyone is very satisfied, the photographer knows what he is doing and gets the out the best out of each one of us. He catches our spirits and our souls. I do not envy the judges; they have a tough job ahead.

Day 2

“When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher.”

Everyone is still tired from yesterday. However, if you want to see the actual strength of a woman, just strap her to a wheelchair and watch her go. She will make the difficult seem comfortable as she rolls out of the deep and turns into a shining star.

Day 3

“Learn from the past to create a better future.”

A day of learning the history and planting for the future. Humans can be cruel and destructive. However, humans can also be gentle and creative. Through the history of men, you can see that many times the evil in men tried to annihilate the good in people but in the end, they always have failed. The only thing that prevails is the good in men, their creativity, and ingeniousness. Twenty-four women are planting some seeds this week that is going to make for a better future for every human.

Day 4

“Compassion and Kindness”

The strength of men is in his ability to be still compassionate and kind when faced with adversity. There is no feeling of competitiveness between the contestants. We seem more like long lost friends than participants competing against each other do. Everybody is happier when they can help each other out than when they must take the center page. World leaders can take a lesson from these women.

Day 5

“Some angels have wings; others have WHEELS!”

Practice makes perfect. I can only sit there and watch the others dance. I have come to accept that this all that I can physically do and so I have learned to enjoy the little moments to the maximum. I am laughing most of the time. Sometimes I even laugh aloud, I hope that my laughter can help the girls to take their minds off the stress and help them enjoy themselves and the moment.

Day 6

“Once upon a time in Warsaw.”

When choosing places to travel too, I always think “WARM”, I never thought “WARSAW.” Warsaw is not warm at this time of the year, but I am thrilled that I am here. The best thing about being here by far is the people. The organizers, representatives of the city, the press, THE CONTESTANTS, their family and their assistants. EVERYONE!

My heart is already filled with beautiful memories, and there are still two more days to go. The best is yet to come. I am sure that come Sunday morning my heart will be with so much love that it will be fully inflated like a hot air balloon. I will not need an airplane to take me home.

Day 7

“One needs to take the path unknown to find herself.”

If I had not challenged myself and faced my fears, I would not have come to know laughter, love and not even life. I am so glad that I decided to travel, to present myself in public and bite through the tears and fears. If I have not done that, I would not have seen the world. I would not have gotten married. I would not have enjoyed my life.

Day 8

“Heels on wheels.”

The decisive moment is here, the time to ROLL and ROCK the world is now!

Only one contestant will roll off the stage with the crown, but all the contestants will roll off the scene as winners.


Kati’s Talking Eyes: Love

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Kati van der Hoeven (Lepistö)
About Kati van der Hoeven (Lepistö) 8 Articles
Kati ”Young achiever of 2014” The Finnish author, blogger Kati van der Hoeven-Lepistö, is the award-winner ´The Finnish young achiever of the year 2014´. The prize was awarded by the junior division of the Chamber of Commerce International Finland. Kati van der Hoeven-Lepistö is a 40-year-old former supermodel, whose career was cut short after an afflicted brain stem infarction in 1995. Kati was 20-years-old at that time, Kati lost the power of movement and the power of speech completely. Only her eyes are working, and she communicates with a letter chart. The grand assemblage of instruments according to van der Hoeven is determination, faith and toughness, these enable her to live a full life. She has helped and encouraged others to cope with being paralyzed and moving forward. Kati is the author of her life experiences in the book ´Blink of an eye´ (only in Finnish), and she is an active blogger. According to the jury van der Hoeven-Lepistö fosters a positive attitude to life, and she has affected thousands of people’s life and attitude towards life by teaching acceptance of diversity and understanding (spiritual growth). The Young Achiever is the world’s most prestigious award, the junior division Chamber of Commerce International Finland to share their field and in his own right performing between 18 and 40 years of Finnish citizens. Competition is the national implementation of international ´The Outstanding Young Person Awards.