Miss North Carolina Contestant Madeline Delp Says Her Spinal Injury Is Her Superpower

“When you're able to look your fears in the face, you become a stronger person.”


Miss North Carolina Contestant Madeline Delp Says Her Spinal Injury Is Her Superpower

“When you're able to look your fears in the face, you become a stronger person.”

Madeline Delp thought if she could just pray hard enough, she could stand up straight. The then 10-year-old was the focus of the day's service at her local church, nestled in the Christian-dominated town of Asheville, NC. Her preacher had taken her to the front of the congregation, announcing: “In the name of God, if you have faith, you’ll be able to stand.”

to simply hold herself upright. Hundreds of churchgoers shouted what made up a piercing vocal soup, trying to make Delp into an able-bodied girl. But as much as she wanted to stand, Delp couldn’t do it. She sat back in her wheelchair. She ended up feeling like her injury—paralysis from the waist down—was a form of punishment. “I thought I must've done something to bring it on myself,” Delp recalls.

The car Delp was trapped inside, on the day of the crash.

When those first responders finally got her out, she was bleeding so badly that they didn't think that she would make it to the hospital alive. She did, but she stayed in a coma for several weeks.

She and her mom still had faith that she might be able to walk again."It was a battle that lasted many years, wondering what was true and what my body was going to be able to do,” Delp says.

Delp and one of her nurses at the rehabilitation hospital in Charlotte.

Her school eventually said it “wasn’t a good fit” for Delp, so she enrolled in a homeschooling program. While it gave her more time to adjust to a new normal,"it was almost so private that I became conditioned to think I needed to be separated to succeed in life,” she says.

Madeline Delp with fellow students while studying abroad in Germany.

Read more: Prevention Magazine

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