KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Paintings line Rynita McGuire’s living room walls displaying some of her talent.
She has three art degrees from Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University.
By day, she paints for the eye, but by night, she plays for the ear as a disc jockey.
“I’ve been DJing for 13 years,” McGuire said. However, she doesn’t use her hands for either art form. Known as “DJ Short-e” to many, she uses a ‘mouth stick’. It’s a metal rod with a rubber tip.
“I practiced 8 to 12 hours a day for a couple of years before I even played a show live. I wanted to be flawless,” she explained.
“I didn’t want people to think ‘she’s good girl for a girl in a wheelchair,’” she said. “I wanted to be a bona fide DJ. So I worked my butt off,” she added.
McGuire has arthrogryposis. “It’s a congenital joint disorder. I was born this way. The tendons in my joints don’t have the elasticity that average people’s do,” she explained.
The rare disorder affects her limbs. However, there’s not much McGuire sees as a challenge to daily tasks. She said it just takes her a little longer to find a solution.
But there is one thing which many people take for granted.
“Transportation is probably one of the challenges that is a challenge for me and that I don’t view as something as easy,” she said.
She needs assistance and reliable transportation to get around in her 400 pound motorized wheelchair.
“And me DJing and playing music and volunteering in the community and everything that I do… I’m very very active,” she explained. “My van is 20 years old. It’s dying. Without it, I won’t be able to do all the things that I do now,” she added.
That’s why she entered a national contest for “National Mobility Awareness Month”. Three customized vans will be awarded to three “local heroes.” Including the elderly, caregivers, veterans, therapists, or people with disabilities, and she needs your vote.
“You get voted on based on like, how people think you’re a hero, what your story is and then at the end of the votes, you go to the next round where judges look at your story and decide the top three,” she explained.
To vote for McGuire you can find a link to the “National Mobility Awareness Month” contest by clicking here.
You’re allowed one vote per day, per IP address. You can vote everyday.