8-year-old with Spina Bifida wins Miss Georgia -Junior Pre-Teen - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

8-year-old with Spina Bifida defies all odds, wins Miss Georgia -Junior Pre-Teen

By Katherine Kington -  bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Third-grader Jenna Gerner pretends she's Hermione Granger with her brother Eric, playing Harry Potter but it wasn't magic that won her the Miss Georgia Pre-Teen title, it was her spirit.

Jenna was born with Spina Bifida, a disease that paralyzes her lower extremities, and in her very first pageant she beat out 49 other contestants to represent Georgia. Jenna says, "I thought I was getting a trophy, I was like um? everybody was standing up I was like ok chill people I'm just getting a trophy and then I got up there and I saw this big trophy and I was like see I got a trophy and then I saw the sash and the crown and some roses and then I was like Oh my gosh!! I won!" Danielle Gerner, Jenna's mother says, "As soon as you meet her the wheel chair disappears and all you see is her, because that's just who she is."

Jenna's mother, Danielle Gerner, still remembers the terrifying news from doctors 8 years ago; that their baby was born with Spina Bifida. "We had no idea, so as soon as we found that out we were like, what does that even mean."

What it meant was Jenna would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life and she would have a shunt in her head from excess fluid on the brain, but what it didn't mean, was that Jenna wouldn't be able live and laugh like the world around her.

Danielle says, "She's born and I hear the doctor laughing and I was like what on earth could he be laughing at, he said she's biting me as hard a she could with those little gums,  I knew she was going to be a fighter." Danielle says every day people are taken aback by her daughter's love of life. "It kind of stuns me sometimes when people see a little girl in a wheelchair and I'm like what do you expect her to be really sad? No way. She's got her whole life ahead of her." Jenna says, "Just pretend you're a star, just pretend that, you own it!"

Jenna's talent in the competition was a monologue from one of her favorite TV shows, Hanna Montana, acting helped her win the Pageant and set her path for the future.

"I just want to act in shows or movies on the Disney Channel or any other Channel."

As Jenna shows me her trophy's of everything from softball, to cheerleading, to her newest pageant wins; she looks forward to visiting a land she's never seen, California, where she'll represent Georgia in National American Miss in November.

"We're gonna take a tour of Hollywood, we're going to Disney Land"

And mark off a spot on Hollywood's walk of fame where she says one day there will be a star with her name on it.

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