Through Her Dance Team and Non-Profit, Chelsie Hill is On a Mission to Help Others in Chairs.
In her youth, Chelsie Hill was already a talented dancer and destined for greatness. But, little did she know, her upcoming dance career would look a little different than she may have imagined. Not only would she go on after her spinal cord injury to dance on impressive stages, hosted by some of America’s most famous personalities – but she would do it all on wheels, while encouraging countless others.
Today, Chelsie travels the world with her dance team, The Rollettes, and helps run the E.P.I.C. Project, the charitable organization co-founded by her and her father, Jon Hill.
We know well in this community that life can change in an instant. For Chelsie Hill, a spinal cord injury at 18-years-old was that turning point. Dealing with a traumatic injury is never easy, but with the support of family, friends and a new community of people in wheelchairs, Chelsie became reacquainted with dance and realized it was still an important part of her journey and mission.
VIDEO: CHELSIE HILL DANCES ON THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW
The Rollettes: Empowering Women who have Disabilities
In 2012, just two years after her injury, Chelsie started a dance team made up entirely of women in wheelchairs. Today, this dynamic crew is known as the Rollettes, and includes six permanent dance team members – Chelsie, Sam, Steph, Edna, Maria and Morgan. Get to know them here.The Rollettes’ mission statement is Women Empowering Women with Disabilities to Live Boundlessly and Shift Perspectives Through Dance.
Chelsie and the Rollettes, or some combination of them, have been featured on the Today Show, Ellen, and numerous other national shows and publications. But, YOU can see them live, because they perform at Abilities Expos, too! Get the schedule and see when they’ll be near you!
These women have created a community that redefines what it means to be strong, female, and resilient. With dance they dazzle and push the boundaries that others place in the way.
The Rollettes Experience
In August of this year, The Rollettes hosted their 5th annual dance and self-empowerment workshop in Los Angeles. The event brings together people of all ages and abilities, from all over the globe, for a safe, fun-filled experience where lasting friendships are made and everyone leaves a better version of themselves.Chelsie admits that a big motivator in starting the wheelchair dance experience was a personal need for camaraderie in the dance studio, as well as a passion for inspiring others through dance. She recalls, “I started it because I didn’t want to be alone. We had fun at these dance workshops, so we kept doing them.”
In just five short years, the workshops have become life-changing experiences for people across the globe. This past year, the Rollettes saw the most attendance with 30 young women, including attendees from Australia and Canada! It was the most elaborate and involved experience yet, and to the team, it felt like a major milestone. Chelsie shares, “There was a big moment in which we realized that whatever we have been doing was working. It was surreal. All the hard work is paying off.”
“Parents come up to us and say, ‘My kid finally has an actual role model.'”
You can expect the Rollettes to keep up the momentum, too. In 2018, they’re hoping to more than double the number of attendees at the Rollettes Experience and incorporate a mentorship program (click here to find out more about attending). Plus, they have some new exciting projects, performances and programs on the horizon.
VIDEO: THE ROLLETTES PERFORM AT WINGS FOR LIFE EVENT
Chelsie Hill and her father CREATED THE E.P.I.C. Project TO FUND DREAMS
Around the time that Chelsie was putting her first dance team together, she and her dad, Jon, were also founding a non-profit to empower all people in wheelchairs. Early on, they realized that lack of funding prohibited many people in chairs from having access to equipment, technology, experiences and opportunities that could drastically improve their quality of life.
The E.P.I.C. Project offers financial assistance to people in wheelchairs to help them in one of two ways. They help people obtain “Items of Empowerment,” which they define as “a resource or a piece of equipment that motivates a wheelchair user to embrace their new life, and fulfill their dreams.”
They also help wheelchair-users via their “Dream Maker” program, in which they support people in accomplishing a big dream – whether it be starting a business or going skydiving.
In this last round of gifts, the E.P.I.C. Project was able to support four individuals by purchasing a wheelchair, a hotel room for a kid to attend a skateboarding competition in Texas, paid travel to the Rollettes Experience and three pairs of custom-made Endless Ability Jeans for a young lady who has never worn jeans before. They also recently helped build a ramp for an individual in need in their local community.
Like what you hear?! You can help make it all possible! The E.P.I.C. Project is having an online fundraiser through November 4, 2017. Click here to learn more.
Meet The Rollettes at the San Mateo Abilities Expo
Want to add some exciting new activities to your life? Abilities Expo showcases a wide range of events that not only entertain you – they also give you the opportunity to try new things, expand your interests and discover ways to be more involved in the local San Mateo area.For nearly 40 years, Abilities Expo has been the go-to source for the Community of people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals. Every event opens your eyes to new technologies, new possibilities, new solutions and new opportunities to change your life. Where else can you discover ability-enhancing products and services, play a few adaptive sports, learn new dance moves, attend informative workshops and only scratch the surface of what Abilities Expo has to offer?
You can meet the Rollettes in person at the San Mateo Abilities Expo! See them at the SmartDrive booth all three days.Be sure to visit Cure Medical too while you’re at the show! Cure Advocate Chris Collin will be on hand to answer your questions about Cure catheters in Booth 436.
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