Chelsie Hill’s dream was to be a dancer and it was evident since she was little that the California native had a promising future ahead of her as a dancer. She won awards at state and national dance competitions and by high school graduation her future in dancing looked very promising.
However, all that change one night when she was 17 and got in a car with a friend who had been drinking. The vehicle she was in hit a tree head-on, snapping her back and leaving her a T-10 paraplegic. When she woke up in the hospital she didn’t know what happened,
“I passed out and woke up to a whole new world,” she recalls. “When the doctor came in I asked him, ‘Why can’t I feel my legs?’ The doctor looked down and just said, ‘You have a spinal cord injury, which means you can’t walk.’ The first thing I said was, ‘But I’m a dancer’, and he said ‘Well, you won’t be able to dance again.’”
It took her a few months to realize that she would never walk again nevermind dance again. She says what changed her life and her outlook was all the people that came into her life and opened up her eyes to life after injury. “Once I realized I could make a difference in my own life and help others, it motivated me to keep going.”
Since her accident, Chelsie has traveled the country, speaking to students about the choices we make in life. She along with her father created the nonprofit Walk and Roll Foundation, which educates teens on distracted driving, and provides support to people living with spinal cord injuries. She also teaches twice a week wheelchair dance classes and is starting a denim line for women!
I know what it feels like to be able-bodied, walking around living life like there’s no tomorrow,” she says. “But I also know what it feels like to make a mistake that cannot be undone. I want to show students the consequences, but also show people who are injured that you can live a fulfilled life.”
By Lois Lane