A rising star swimmer in Atlanta, Georgia, Mia Schaikewitz was not unlike most able-bodied high school students achieving both in the classroom and in an athletic arena. Athletically gifted, her strength, technique and endurance in the water allowed her to accomplish feats that most of us could not. But no amount of training could prepare her for her biggest challenge.
One evening she found herself unable to move her legs. Within 12 hours, doctors discovered that an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) had ruptured in her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.
Shaikewitz hasn’t walked since, but she hasn’t held back either.
Schaikewitz’s story, and the stories of three women like her who continue to persevere, will soon be chronicled on the Sundance Channel’s newest half-hour long docu-series, Push Girls.
The show premieres in June, but the Wright State University community will get to see an advance screening of the show Monday, May 7, in part because of the university’s excellent record of serving students with disabilities.
The event will be in the Student Union Apollo Room at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. Those who attend will get the chance to meet Shiakewitz and participate in a Q&A session after the advance screening.
“For decades, Wright State has been a pioneer on accessibility issues,” said Jeff Vernooy, director of disability services. “It makes perfect sense that a television show about young adults achieving despite their disabilities is going to be shown to our community, which has so many similar students achieving at the same level.”
According to Vernooy, Wright State has more students with severe disabilities on its campus than almost any other school in the country.
In fact, in February, Wright State was named one of the nation’s top disability-friendly schools.
According to College Success for Students with Physical Disabilities by Chris Wise Tiedemann, Wright State and four other schools go above and beyond the rest in making independent living possible, offering the most supportive environments for students with serious physical disabilities to live on campus.
The book noted that Wright State has accessible housing, accessible transportation and a tunnel system that connects all of the academic buildings. In addition, the university has personal care attendants, wheelchair sports and a good online guide to help disabled students prepare for college.
“The environment we have here at Wright State has been built up over years and really reflects a decades-long commitment to accessibility yes, but to all of our students,” said Vernooy. “I’m looking forward to meeting Mia and hearing what she has to say about the show and the accessibility issues that will be brought to the forefront in the show too.”
Push Girls premieres June 5 at 10 p.m. on the Sundance Channel.
Visit http://www.wright.edu/communications-and-marketing/push-girls-advance-screening for more information about this event or call the Office of Disability Services at 937-775-5680.