Charlotte is hosting the 34th annual Southern Women’s Show, and Paralympian Bonnie St. John – a medal holder in ski racing from the 1984 Winter Paralympics – will be joining the event for the first time, speaking about health and the everyday “Olympic” achievements that inspire her.
The show will be at the Charlotte Convention Center, Aug. 26-28. The three days will feature shopping, fashion shows, food sampling and other celebrity appearances.
St. John’s appearance Saturday, Aug. 27 will follow other celebrity appearances throughout the weekend, like Keegan Allen from the show “Pretty Little Liars” and Chris Soules from “The Bachelor” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Others include WBTV’s Christine Sperow, Whitney Way Thore, Dwayna Litz and writer Tracy Curtis.
St. John will be speaking at a free breakfast sponsored by Novant Health as part of their “Remarkable You” wellness initiative, which focuses on prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Breakfast will be from 7:30-8:00 a.m. with St. John’s address from 8-10 a.m. Reservations are recommended and may be made by e-mailing: RemarkableYou@novanthealth.org.
St. John, who had her right leg amputated at the age of 5, won a silver and two bronze medals when she competed in the Paralympics. But she said that some of the most medal-worthy acts occur every day outside of the arena.
“A lot of people say ‘I’ll never do anything like that,’” she said. “But I’ve talked to so many people, and I think everybody does something that deserves a medal,” like taking care of your own health, she added.
She said her mother never went through necessary health screenings and died of a heart attack at 67.
“I really want to urge people to come and focus on prevention,” she said. “And if you don’t do it for yourself, push your sister, your aunt, your grandmother to do this. We can help all of us live longer.”
She’s an example of her belief that everyone can live up to their potential with determination and creativity; after the Paralympics, she graduated from Harvard University and then Oxford University, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to work on the White House National Economic Council.
“Each of us are put on this earth to do something,” she said. “The difference that your auntie or your grandma makes, that is an Olympic achievement. That matters more than how fast someone can swim across the pool.”
“Making sure they’re still around – that’s worth an Olympic medal.”
Cole: 704-358-5357; @kianamcole