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Annual Women with Heart luncheon held in Opelousas

Posted at 1:01 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 19:40:23-05

The St. Landry-Evangeline United Way hosted its 7th Annual Women With Heart Luncheon today.

The event took place at the Opelousas Civic Center. Activities included an auction. Proceeds from this event will support the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL), organizers say.

This year’s luncheon recognized Connie Lamke and Susie Peck in St. Landry and Evangeline Parishes who have distinguished themselves as caring, compassionate philanthropists and community volunteers, organizers said.

The Keynote Speaker was Karen Roy, Ms. Wheelchair America 2019. Roy, of Baton Rouge, sustained a T10 complete spinal cord injury in 1987, as the result of a gunshot wound to the back. She was the victim of an armed robbery in a parking lot during her sophomore year at Louisiana State University. However, she never let that slow her down.

After completing her rehabilitation at Mississippi Methodist in Jackson Mississippi, she went on to finish her BA in Psychology. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Louisiana State University, and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Most of her Social Work career was spent working with patients in physical rehabilitation hospitals in Baton Rouge. The past three years she has spent as a Medical Supply account manager at Numotion. Her proudest achievement is her three kids after sustaining her injury. Caroline, Austin and Joseph are all now in college and they are the joy of her life!

Using her platform “Stand for Life”, Karen plans to travel the country speaking to people in the disabled community, medical professionals, law makers and insurance companies about the medical and psychological benefits of standing devices, functional electrical stimulation and any technology created to keep people healthy and active.

“I realized that the use of technology that has existed for well over 30 years is terribly underutilized by people with disabilities,” Roy says.

She wants this to become the norm by bringing awareness to policy makers.

Roy says she hopes to influence law makers who may be trying to roll back the progress made by the Americans
with Disabilities Act, pointing out that there are 56 million amazing people in the country who happen to
have a disability.