OGDEN -- "Fluke."
That explanation was jotted in Jennifer Adams's medical chart when she was born with partial limbs 34 years ago.
"The doctors couldn't figure it out. It's not genetic," Adams said of her condition. "So I just considered the way I was born a gift to inspire people, because I've never let my limitations limit me."
Since July, the Washington state native has been touring the country as Ms. Wheelchair America, a title she won in part for her anti-bullying campaign called "The Power of Words."
As Ms. Wheelchair America, her platform is "Inclusion Revolution."
"Everyone has gifts and talents regardless of the body we've geen given to live in on this earth," Adams said. "When you use your gifts and talents, people notice your abilities more than your disabilities."
On Wednesday, Adams spoke at the nonprofit Roads to Independence at 3355 Washington Blvd. in Ogden, a non-residential organization that assists people with disabilities to gain skills and services so they can live independently.
"Even from a young age I had a very savvy spirit," Adams said. Adopted at birth, Adams grew up in a large, diverse family. Her parents adopted five other special-needs children and also had two of their own.
"I swung on the swings, played tag, wrestled with my brothers -- and won," Adams grinned.
From a tot, Adams said she loved to sing and "wanted a microphone and to be on stage." So her parents enrolled her in voice lessons at age 6, and fought to keep her in mainstream classes at a time when children with disabilities were often sidelined.
It was the 1980s, and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act did not become law until 1990. All her parents had to rely on statutorily was the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that said children with disabilities were to be educated in public schools, Adams said.
"They could see that cognitively that's where I belonged," Adams said. "But all through my schooling, it was a constant battle to keep me out of separate classrooms."
That experience gave Adams a passion for the inclusion model of education.
"I wouldn't have the social skills and the education experience i have unless I had the inclusion my parents had fought for," Adams said.
During her teens she battled anxiety and depression, Adams said. But she forged ahead and blossomed as a student at Pacific Luthern University in Tacoma, Wash. where she majored in psychology and minored in vocal performance. She also went on to earn a degree in radio broadcasting and a master's in counseling.
"All with the plan of taking over the world," she grinned.
Her innate drive led Adams to host a year-long radio show called "Positive Tacoma" and also launch her motivational speaking business. Adams also writes inspirational songs, enjoys oil painting and has authored a children's book called "Dreams Come True." Her next aspiration? To be a network television talk-show host.
Murray residents Richard and Kathryn Luke attended Wednesday's event.
Richard Luke, an Army medic during Desert Storm who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as mild Cerebral Palsy, teaches cooking classes at Salt Lake City's Veterans Administration Hospital and also advocates for people with disabilities.
"Jennifer's an amazing woman. Her anti-bullying campaign is huge and needs to be taught in every school in existence," Luke said. "I was really inspired by her story."
To learn more about Adams, go to www.jenniferlynnadams.com.
Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.