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Kaitlin Gill
Kaitlin Gill
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Five women break wheelchair boundaries

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Confident, trendy, attractive. Three words that might not immediately come to mind when we think of women bound to a wheelchair by spinal cord injuries, but they’re accurate for the “Push Girls.”

Television documentary series follows the fabulous “Push Girls”

Sundance Channel’s television series “Push Girls” follows five women who live each day in wheelchairs, and highlights their ability to overcome the many obstacles that paralysis poses.

Tiphany Adams, Auti Angel, Angela Rockwood, Mia Schaikewitz, and Chelsie Hill break boundaries – and, frankly, put a lot of able-bodied people to shame – by flaunting their abilities and beauty around L.A. as models, dancers, singers, fashion designers, graphic designers and ambassadors for various charities.

Commonality of spinal cord injury

Four of the women became paralyzed in horrific car accidents. A drunk driver struck Adams and two friends. Schaikewitz, on the other hand, woke up unable to move her legs after training for her high school swim team. Doctors soon discovered an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) had ruptured in her spinal cord, which left her paralyzed from the waist down.

The Ledger.com reports, “There are about 12,000 new spinal cord injury patients per year, an estimated 270,000 total nationwide.” Twenty percent of those are women.

Creating insight

This dynamic show allows viewers to move beyond the stereotype of what life in a wheelchair is like by depicting these women struggling with family relationships, boyfriends, athletic and modeling careers, workouts, night life, etc. – aspects that affect the lives of all women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. These women show that though spinal cord injuries are serious, life doesn’t end after paralysis.

“When people hear it's a show about women in wheelchairs, I expect them to think it's going to be exploitive,” producer Gay Rosenthal told the Huffington Post. “That doesn't surprise me, but hopefully the way I am telling the story and the way the girls are sharing their lives, it's going to be 'Wow! How dynamic, how interesting.”

2 Comments

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  1. Maria says:
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    While I think this is a great and needed show, and I agree that it portrays a group of wonderful women, I am troubled by comments suggesting that they are absolutely unique in their independence. I am a mother of a young woman with paraplegia and I know the disability community pretty well. There is plenty of independent, smart, and courageous women on wheels (or with other disabilities) who study, work, play sports, fall in love, raise families and work for the community. The women in the show represent this group but they are not an exception.

  2. Kaitlin Gill says:
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    Hi, Maria! Thank you for reading!
    I agree 100%. In fact, we’ve had a fantastic troop of wheelchair dancers in Cleveland for 30 years: http://www.dancingwheels.org/
    It’s just nice to see television shows about real women, opposed to the not-so-Real Housewives of such-and-such and the Kardashians.
    I wish you and your daughter well,
    Kaitlin