TRAVEL

Earth, Wind & Wheels: Our Journey to Find a Cure for Paralysis

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Kelsey & Madeline

Getting to Know The Cure Map: Paralysis Journey

Kelsey and Madeline, could you please introduce yourselves?
I’m Kelsey and I’m a C6 quadriplegic. I had a diving accident July 4th, 2012 that resulted in a spinal cord injury. I went from being a bartender, yoga teacher and dancer to spending my life in a chair and figuring out what to do all over again.    I’m Madeline and I’m a photographer and filmmaker. Like Kelsey, I grew up in Minneapolis but we met on Madeline Island on Lake Superior where we grew up spending summertime working and figuring out life in the northwoods. We are both now based wherever we need to be in order to make this film and consider ourselves gypsies for the cause. 

What is the mission of The Cure Map?  
The mission of the Cure Map is to create both a documentary film and a movement that puts a spotlight on spinal cord injury both in the field of research and the greater SCI community in order to unite and help expedite a cure.

Who has been involved in developing the Cure Map?
The idea for this project came together in one phone conversation. The idea stemmed from an original idea to curate a map of SCI research across the country. We soon realized that the best way to execute this was through the power of film, friendship and on the ground storytelling. It was a perfect combination of tools and skills and so we set off on our adventure…..

How long were you on the road and which states did you travel to?   We were on the road for about four months. We started our journey in Minneapolis on January 9th, 2017 and circumnavigated the U.S., stopping and meeting researchers and other individuals living with spinal cord injuries along the way. We concluded our tour on May 26th. We stopped Montana, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, New York, Massechussetts, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, home. Along the way we comprised about 95 interviews and meetings and accumulated hundreds and hundreds of hours of footage not only of these meetings, but of the arduous reality of life on the road as a quadriplegic.

Who were some of the people you met that stood out?  
We met the most amazing people everywhere we went. Our highlight encounters were with anyone who opened up and shared their story...which was pretty much everyone. These people welcomed us into their world and and didn’t hold anything back and it was so heart-warming and educational. Whether it was a reseacher or a person with a disability, people just gave us so much about who they are, their time and their energy and this is what kept us going and enriched our story every single day. 

What is one tip you  have for someone who recently sustained an SCI?  Accept and get involved with your SCI community sooner than you think you should. Embrace your new community because it will help you embrace the new version of you in order to lead a happier life. STRAIGHT UP.

What did you learn from intervewing people in the SCI community?   Too much to write in this small paragraph, but i think a big thing for us is that it made us feel like our mission and journey was valid and appreciated. Everyone has their own struggle which makes us hopefully that much more relatable. 

Do you feel you are one step closer to finding a cure for paralysis?   Yes. We feel that we’re in the middle of making our cause and our community stronger and it doesn’t stop when the film ends it will only become bigger. 

Can you tell us about your next documentary?  
It’ll be all about the intricacies and design of makeshift ramp building and the often times over-looked world of professional piggy backing.

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