Fitness Advocate and Founding Member of the Rollettes dance team Maria Rabaino shares her secrets to success for the CURE NATION, along with their new #BeBoundless18 campaign!
A New Chapter for Maria Rabaino: Facing Spinal Cord Injury
The day before Valentine’s Day in 2012, Maria Rabaino experienced a life-changing event that set her rolling down a path that she could have never imagined. At 18 years old, she was riding as a passenger when she was involved in a traumatic car accident that was the result of drunk driving. The vehicle struck two trees and Maria endured multiple internal injuries, including an incomplete L-1 spinal cord injury.
Maria wasn’t yet aware – but her SCI would be a turning point and the start of the greatest friendships and adventures she’d ever experienced.
As is common with spine-related injuries or diseases, Maria’s prognosis wasn’t entirely accurate. Initially, doctors believed there was no connection between the nerves across her injury, then 6 months later, she started getting slight movement and control back.Maria did her rehabilitation at Shriners Hospital of Northern California in Sacramento and can’t say enough good things about the experience. Supported by a family that kept her in good spirits, she committed herself to figuring out life after SCI. Maria was connected with a mentor in the hospital that answered a lot of questions and also told her about a show that was getting ready to debut on the Sundance Channel. It was called Push Girls and it would feature five successful, active women in wheelchairs.
The show became a huge source of inspiration and motivation for Maria – and she felt a special connection with the youngest member of the Push Girls cast, Chelsie Hill. She and Chelsie were close in age, were both pretty recent injuries and both had been injured in a drunk driving accident. Maria’s parents decided to attempt to reach out to Chelsie’s dad via social media and were surprised when they got a response.
Maria remembers how meaningful it was the day that Chelsie called and they talked for the very first time. Little did they both know, it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
The Power of Positive Relationships
Maria Rabaino and Chelsie Hill stayed in contact and five months after Maria’s injury, Chelsie drove to Sacramento so they could meet in person. Their friendship only grew from there and before long, Chelsie invited Maria to participate in a dance showcase that she was planning, called “Dance For Life.”
Eager to continue building relationships and staying active, Maria happily agreed to join the showcase. What was originally supposed to be a one-time performance evolved into a dance team, which eventually became the Rollettes that we all know and love today.
The bond that Maria shares with Chelsie and the other members of the dance team has been instrumental in building a life she loves after her injury.
She shares, “My friendship with Chelsie changed my life and showed me how great life could be. We motivate each other and support each other – we’re a sisterhood.”
In 2014, Maria married her soulmate, Fel Ian, with Chelsie by her side as a bridesmaid. She had met Fel Ian once before her injury but a relationship didn’t develop until their second meeting. It was one of Maria’s first times going out on her own after her accident and she was headed to her old place of employment to see some friends.
Maria remembers her determination that day, but didn’t realize until later that it allowed her the last chance encounter with the man that would become her husband. “I sat in the garage for an hour practicing loading my wheelchair until I knew I could do it. It turns out, it was Fel Ian’s last night before he was moving away for a new job,” Maria recalls.He made quite an impact on Maria and she on him. She noticed right away that he wasn’t scared or intimidated around her wheelchair – and even took her out on the dance floor. She learned later that he declined the job opportunity to stay and build a relationship with her.
Maria Falls in Love with Fitness
As is common after a spinal cord injury, Maria says she gained some weight after her accident. She recalls eventually not being able to wear her jeans anymore, transferring became more difficult and at some point, she realized that she’d gained more weight than she’d thought.
“Nothing specific happened, but I remember waking up one day with a desire to be healthier and live a healthier life.”
It was time, Maria decided, that she was taking control of her own health. She joined an Instagram fitness challenge for accountability, and although she didn’t win, she says it was just what she needed to really commit to her personal fitness. The challenge motivated her to try new workouts and she began feeling better in no time. She even bought a virtual, customized workout and nutrition plan and has seen great results.Maria says soon after adopting a regular workout routine, she began dropping major body fat and building strength in her upper and lower body. She’s made progress with the movement below her injury and has much more confidence.
Via social media, Maria started getting questions about her workouts and requests to help people in their fitness journeys. Motivated to help others on a larger scale, Maria decided to pursue certification to become a personal trainer.
Be Boundless with Maria and the Rollettes
Maria and her team have a new awareness campaign underway currently on social media related to the terms used to describe people who use wheelchairs.
The Rollettes’ website says, “We have seen a lot of “wheelchair bound” terminology being used lately. On the news, in magazines, and in every day conversation.
We have launched this campaign because we believe that we are anything but bound to a chair.
Our goals, dreams, aspirations and abilities reach far outside just what we can do while sitting in our chairs. We. Are. Boundless.
VIDEO: BE BOUNDLESS WITH THE ROLLETTES
How do you live Boundless?
You can live boundlessly by achieving your dreams and reaching your goals or just by accomplishing the every day, mundane tasks that sometimes take work. We want to hear how you live Boundless too!”
Maria says, “It has been a huge honor to be a part of this video. It’s entirely frustrating to hear people say I am wheelchair bound and this video shows that’s not who we are!”
If you want to be a part of the Rollettes’ new education movement on social media,
- take a photo of yourself holding a sign that reads Be Boundless,
- post it on your social media pages and tag the Rollettes, and
- use the hashtag #beboundless18 in your post.
What’s Next for Maria Rabaino?
Maria will continue her work with the Rollettes, participating in dance performances and mentoring other women to live “boundless lives.” Maria will also continue studying for her personal training certification and looks forward to supporting people of varying abilities in creating custom workouts and fitness routines.
Maria says, “Life does throw curve balls, but the way you handle those events is how you live your life.”
Maria Rabaino is a proud user of Cure catheters
Maria’s go-to product is the discreet Cure Twist®. The sterile, single use, Cure Twist® intermittent catheter by Cure Medical is similar to the design of small cosmetics, and is preferred by women who value discretion and convenience.Ready to use, it features an easy, twist open top and polished eyelets on a pre-lubricated straight tip that allows for ‘No Drip/No Mess’ cathing. The Cure Twist® is offered with a universal funnel end for maximum compatibility with drainage solutions.
She says, “I LOVE them. They’re so easy to use!”
“What I really like is how it’s so simple to put the catheter back in the container to dispose of after use. You can roll out and throw it away and no one even knows what it is,” Maria explains.
To request free samples of the Cure Twist® Ready-to-Use Catheter or any Cure Medical catheter, contact your local distributor of quality healthcare products, or click here.
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