CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- They got off to an awkward start.

The North Carolina delegates' breakfast started slowly, with delegates from around the state saying hello to each other and getting reacquainted.

But by the time the entertainment began, the delegates were in action mode.

I'm very proud to be a North Carolina delegate, said Charlotte resident Brenda Stevenson.

Three years ago, Stevenson lost her leg after a serious infection. Now, she considers herself a healthcare advocate. She says her own hardship has helped her undersand the plight of others.

I didn't understand it at first, but now I'm the voice of the disabled.

Elena Botella is also a delegate. The Myers Park graduate is now a sophomore at Duke, advocating for young voters, hoping to reach them.

I'm most looking forward to Obama's acceptance speech on Thursday, she said. I think it'll be a unifying moment.

As delegates, Stevenson and Botella have access to some of the most important venues at the DNC. They'll attend press conferences, speeches and caucus meetings.

(It's) absolutely astounding, said delegate Frank Deaton of Costswald, knowing you are a part of this and have a voice.

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