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Since I suffered a spinal cord injury in 2009, and have been reliant on a wheelchair as my primary mode of mobilization, I notice even more the lack of persons with disabilities in the mainstream media from advertisements, tv shows and movies, modeling. The overall picture of persons with disabilities enjoying life the same as able bodied counterparts is almost never depicted. I love the AT&T commercial that includes a wheelchair user sitting at his laptop. When I heard about photoability from a fellow disabilities advocate, I was thrilled - this is something I have always wanted to get involved in - increasing the presence of pictures of persons with disabilities throughout the media.

Despite my injury, I was determined to not let my circumstance deter me from being just as active as I was before my injury. That is why I am involved in several sports - swimming, rowing, hand cycling, boxing, and am currently training for a triathlon; in the summer my favorite thing to do is open water swim competitions. I recently was awarded a grant to purchase my own handcycle and can’t wait to hit the bike trails. I would like my photos to depict being an athlete as a wheelchair user and having fun doing it! It’s a shame persons with disabilities are not highlighted more as athletes and only every four years we truly are in the spotlight when the Paralympics come around. I also love to travel, especially to new places and since my injury have traveled by train, plane, bus, car and boat from the east coast to the west coast.

I have created a website, Chanelle's Cause, with a mission to serve as a resource to other women with SCIs by keeping a weekly blog highlighting the challenges I face and ways to overcome those challenges, share helpful resources and information, and to serve as motivation to not only others with SCIs but able-bodies too!

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