Too tired to constantly push herself in her manual wheelchair after her 2009 accident, Dani says she felt like she was stuck. She was living in D.C. at the time with her parents, but had heard Travis Roy speak years earlier when she was a senior at Brooks High School in North Andover, MA. After doing some research, she found that the Travis Roy Foundation awarded grants to people with spinal cord injuries. With her grant, she was able to purchase power-assisted wheels. She credits her TRF grant with opening a lot of doors for her when she felt as if she couldn’t move an inch, and she continues to be grateful for the help.
“Movement in any way, shape, or form feels amazing, even if it’s not your legs,” Dani says. “When I got the grant from TRF, it made me feel motivated and obligated – in a good way – to make the most of it.”
And has she ever. Since receiving her grant, Dani has moved across the country to California and now lives on her own. She was offered a full ride scholarship to earn her Master’s degree in English, and graduated in 2014. During her time as a student, Dani also worked as a consultant with a company called Spinergy, which creates mobility products, such as bicycle wheels and wheelchair parts. Dani says she ‘hit it off’ with the company, and they offered her a full-time job after graduating, which she started in September. Dani also uses Spinergy’s ZX-1 Power Add-On device for extended mobility in her chair. She says a lot of her success has been getting the right equipment for her, as well as getting support from people in her life.
Dani says she has done a lot since her injury, including a recent trip to Costa Rica where she went surfing, did yoga, and rode an ATV. “I didn’t realize that I was such a goal-oriented person. Now I’m discovering that I’m a really ambitious person. I really like to go for it” In the future, she would love to be an advocate for disabled athletes and Olympians.