17-year-old Maryland Resident, Sarah Kramm, Wins Miss Continential Teen America 2005

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Sarah Kramm, a 17-year-old advocate for disabled persons' rights, won the Miss Continental Teen America 2005 pageant. With entrepreneurial parents and a disabled sister, Kramm is using her public position to speak out in favor of disabled (and human) rights, including a July 27, 2005, appearance with President George W. Bush.

With resounding appeal and a focused mission for change that touched judges and fellow pageant-entrants alike, 17-year-old Sarah Kramm was crowned Miss Continental Teen America 2005 this week at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.

Ms. Kramm will spend her reign spreading awareness of the limitations faced by children with disabilities in the many facets of their lives.

“It's hard to watch a child with a disability on a playground or in a social setting, knowing that they can't interact with other children. They feel ostracized from the world, but it doesn't have to be that way,” Sarah said in a 2005 interview.

Unable to navigate the rocky terrain and aggressive incline in a wheelchair and with limited mobility, these children are deprived of normal social interactions.

As the older sister of Hadley Kramm, diagnosed in infancy with cerebral palsy, Sarah witnessed firsthand the disrespect and misunderstanding toward individuals with physical or developmental disabilities. Even from her early childhood, Sarah felt compelled to make a difference.

Working with http://www.findthecure.us, Sarah launched her “People with Disabilities- Orange Bands of Hope” campaign in March, 2005. Touting the message, “I am ABLE”, the slogan has already become a staple for Sarah's ultimate goal: equal rights for disabled persons. Kramm debuted the bands at the annual “Shane's Inspiration” gala in Beverly Hills, CA. Net proceeds from the sale of the $2 Orange Bands of Hope are donated to Shane's Inspiration, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help communities create fully-inclusive playgrounds for all children.

Sarah's commitment and talents earned her First Place Awards in a host of categories including: Interview, Photogenic, Community Service and Area of Concern/Platform.

An honors student at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, MD, Sarah follows in the entrepreneurial footsteps of her parents. Her father, Kenny, created the INC. 500 bio-tech company FLAVORx as a response to his younger daughter's unwillingness to swallow much-needed life-saving, albeit bad-tasting medicine. Her mother, Shelley, was the designer and driving force behind the construction of 18 fully-inclusive disabled-friendly playgrounds in Maryland.

On Wednesday, July 27, 2005, Sarah spoke alongside U.S. president George W. Bush before more than 40,000 Boy Scouts at the International Boy Scout Jamboree. Vowing to spread her call for change worldwide, Sarah will spend her free-time speaking and making public appearances in support of disabled children's rights.

“We live in a world where change implemented by a few dedicated individuals really can make a difference,” Sarah mentions. “My message goes beyond disabled rights. This is a critical issue – we need to accept and embrace the uniqueness of every individual worldwide. With universal tolerance and a collective spirit, we can eradicate the negativity that our society is stricken with.”

To purchase a Band of Hope, visit http://www.findthecure.us. Sarah's complete biography can be found at http://www.sarahkramm.com.

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Mason Thomas
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