As a Registered Nurse case manager and disability advocate, Ryann Kress is an ABLEnow account owner juggling a busy schedule. If those two titles weren’t enough, Ryann recently added another one: Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2020-2021.
Ryann’s platform focuses on an issue that receives limited attention: improving mental healthcare for patients with mobility limiting disabilities. Although being Ms. Wheelchair Virginia gives Ryann a formal space to pursue her mission, her advocacy started before she received her crown.
Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome as a teenager, Ryann was informed by her doctors that a wheelchair would be in her future. After receiving this information, she took to social media to speak about her condition as a form of therapy for herself. Much to her surprise, she received support, acknowledgment, and questions from others with Ehlers-Danlos and other rare conditions.
Outside of writing posts on social media about her disability, Ryann also models. She says it was important to her to model with her mobility aid, to show that it isn’t “clinical or sterile—it’s a part of my body.”
Ryann also continues her advocacy by educating patients on available resources in her role as a nurse. She recognizes the need for financial resources and informs eligible patients about the advantages of ABLEnow accounts.
“I talk to patients who can’t afford their medications and can’t save for other necessities. An ABLEnow account can be used to save money and maintain benefits,” says Ryann.
At the moment, Ryann is using her ABLEnow account to save for future wheelchair repair expenses or medical bills. Ryann also plans to travel to Michigan in August 2021 to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America. Since travel can be a qualified disability expense, she can even use her ABLEnow account to pay for the trip.
Follow Ryann at @chronically_ry on Instagram and @chronicallyry on Facebook.
Ryann Kress is a compensated representative for the ABLEnow program. Her experience as an account owner may not be representative of other account owners.