Hello everyone! My name is Christine Burke and I am delighted to have joined the Incredible Memories Travel team earlier this year. I come from the beautiful sunshine state of California, just outside of San Francisco, where I reside with my family, two rescue dogs and a cat (who thinks he is a dog). Growing up there were two things you could expect from our household; musical theatre references would be thrown into daily conversation and if we weren’t home, we were probably in Disneyland. To all the parents who have braved The Happiest Place on Earth, let me congratulate you on a trip well done. After hearing about all of the shenanigans my brother and I got up to in the park, it was clear you deserve a medal. Factor in a newborn and a tenacious six year old who used a wheelchair… Let’s just say I’m nominating my mom for the Nobel Peace Prize!
In all seriousness though, my mom was and is my fiercest advocate. While I have many exciting memories of our vacations, there were just as many where we ended up fighting with another hotel about the lack of roll-in shower we were guaranteed or being told we had “the wrong type of disability” when we requested an accessible room and all they had were Deaf/HoH rooms available. Through it all she gave me the tools to be able to speak up for myself, modeled how to be a successful change agent , and forced me out of my comfort zone (often while I was kicking and screaming). At the age of ten I enrolled in an adaptive wheelchair basketball program. By age 12, I was on my first trip without my parents traveling cross country with my teammates. Here I not only learned how to execute the perfect pick and roll, but an amalgamation of life skills needed to navigate an inaccessible world. My travels have taken me from the shores of Oahu to the grandeur of the cathedrals in Seville and back to the Great Lakes in Grand Rapids, MI where I passed the crown to the new Ms. Wheelchair America 2023. Through it all, I’m forever grateful to have had the unconditional support and guidance of my family. I’m so thrilled to be working alongside my fellow Ms. Wheelchair America Queen Sister Kristy on the IMT team to help YOU explore new places.