The Accident That Caused Chelsie Hill's Spinal Cord Injury
As a national championship dancer on my high school varsity team, I would have never thought two months before graduation I would be completely paralyzed waist down with a spinal cord injury by a drunk driver. The driver of the car I was in rounded a corner too quickly and we hit a tree head on at 35MPH. When we hit the tree, the impact of my seatbelt left me a T10 paraplegic instantly. I was in the hospital for 51 days and was released shortly after my 18th birthday.
Dance is Dance. Walking or Rolling.
I thought my dreams of dancing professionally were over after I sustained my spinal cord injury until one evening, sitting in my hospital bed, I watched Youtube videos of wheelchair dancers. At first, I rejected the idea of continuing to dance without the use of my legs. But as I began to heal, my passion for dance grew stronger than ever. I knew I couldn't just sit on the sidelines and watch my life go by wishing things were different. Together, my father and I started a non profit organization to bring awareness to spinal chord injuries and to help empower people in the disabled community. I now live in Los Angeles, CA where I train and work as a professional dancer and founded the LA Rollettes, one of the world's only wheelchair dance teams.
My organization, The E.P.I.C. Project, has a devout mission to pull resources, equipment, and funds to empower people in chairs. It is our daily mission to help people turn their limitations into possibilities and live their biggest dreams. I also work as a rep for Max-Mobility who are the creators of the SmartDrive. Which is a power assist wheel for manual wheelchairs. Finally, Endless Ability and Ability Jeans recently asked me to create a jean line for girls. I have loved the process of creating a jean line that is comfortable and trendy for all different body types and needs. I never thought an injury like this was even possible or that it could happen to me. But six years later, I know that I can achieve whatever I set my mind and heart on. The experiences I have had and the amazing people I have met along the way would not have happened if things had gone differently for me. Dance is dance whether you're walking or rolling. And even though I have good days and bad days like everyone else, this is the life I've been given and I'm going to live it.