Tag Archives: life rolls on

SCI Superstar: Briana Walker

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Model, hip-hop dancer, motivational speaker and author, Briana Walker is a bright and fun California girl who did something amazing – she got head deep in the world of modeling only a year after her injury. When she was 23, her entire world changed after she fainted while behind the wheel (becoming a T11-12 paraplegic as a result), but within a year she had found her niche in disabled modeling, and made the cover of Mobility Management Magazine.

And Briana has gone on to much bigger modeling gigs since. Whether you know her from the Overstock.com commercials, seen her dance at the Abilities Expo or maybe she came to your school to speak, here’s the back story on Briana Walker, the fierce platinum blonde who’s trademark attitude – enduring till the end – has made her beloved by people all around the globe.

Why she’s fearless

After Briana landed her first magazine cover, another awesome modeling opportunity landed in her lap – she was chosen to be the ‘Krypto Girl’ for Colours Wheelchairs, becoming the “the face” for that chair (check it out). And while modeling for Colours she met Auti Angel, a just as fierce paraplegic who’s passion is hip-hop dance. She brought Briana into the dancing fold and the duo formed Colours InMotion – a dance team (sponsored by Colours Wheelchairs) that makes appearances at schools, conferences and at the Abilities Expo.

The duo even got the attention of the rapper Ludacris in 2008. He had them dance on stage while he performed at the Vibe Music Awards (coolest things ever). They were so good in fact that the crowd didn’t even believe they needed wheelchairs (silly ABs). And their dance team later went on to add Mia Schaikewitz (and after that, Chelsie Hill). Even though Briana isn’t as active on the team these days, she’ll always be one of its founding members.

And it was dancing and engaging people at her performances that got Briana interested in motivational speaking. She now goes to groups and speaks about perseverance, setting goals and ‘dancing on’ no matter what life throws at you. She also wrote the book, “Dance Anyways,” where she opens up about her injury; moving on and the life lessons she’s learned her car accident (copies are still available on her site).

And in 2007 an even bigger huge modeling opportunity presented itself – she was chosen as the new spokesperson for Overstock.com, and was seen in print ads and television commercials all around the world. She was featured in her chair and out of her chair. Click here to watch her in one of the commercials (link)

Briana is also a huge fan of extreme sports. This wild lady will go skydiving, surfing, skiing, bungee jumping and has also completed several triathlons. Not surprisingly, she’s also a ambassador for Life Rolls On, helping to promote their adapted surfing and skateboarding programs.

What’s next?

Since Briana has bills to pay (and unfortunately dancing and speaking don’t always pay that well), she works as a Client Liaison/legal secretary for Fornos Law irm in Century City, ta law firm that only employs people with paralysis (read the law firm’s back story). She’s also vice president of Ralph Rider’s Association, a non-profit dedicated to providing peer guidance to SCI newbies in the southern California area. I LOVE organizations that focus on this kind of thing. The idea is that by meeting someone with a SCI who’s well-adjusted, they’ll be able to better move on with their lives.

And Briana is still affiliated with Colours. She’s been their Southwest Coordinator for several years, helping to come up with new ideas to new life into this fun, edgy brand.

With a beautiful face and a spirit that refuses to quit, the essence of Briana Walker is so enchanting you can’t help but love her. It’s no wonder she been seriously rocking at whatever she does in life since her injury. And there’s a rumor she may be coming out with a second book soon (let’s hope she begins updating her blog more often!)

What impresses you the most about Briana Walker? What’s her secret?

Watch the videos!

Briana Walker hip-hop dancing at the LA Abilities Expo with the Colours dance team

Briana Walker in an Overstock.com commercial

Briana Walker dancing for Ludacris at the Vibe Music Awards

A great interview with Briana Walker (in her in a chair with 24 karat gold rims)

SCI Superstar: Christiaan Bailey

At the beach or the skate park – this is where you would’ve found Christiaan Bailey (who’s on the cover of this month‘s Sports ‘n Spokes magazine), an always-on-the-go pro surfer before his injury. What’s awesome about this SCI superstar is that this is where you can still find him.

A L3-L4 fracture while filming a skateboarding video in 2006 is how Christiaan became paralyzed, but he’s refused to let it stop him from doing what he loves. Within weeks, Christiaan was already sketching surf board designs for paraplegics from his hospital bed.

Why he’s fearless

It wasn’t an easy for Christiaan, now 31, to get back into doing what he loved, but he put himself back in the thick of things A.S.A.P. He knew right away he had to rediscover his abilities, still surf, still skate, to stay sane. It took a lot of work, but in the year he was catching speed once again.

Now Christian, as well as Jesse Billauer (quad and founder of Life Rolls On), has become one of the only disabled pro surfers in the world, with Christiaan staking the claim of being the only paraplegic pro surfer.

I love that his sponsors from before his injury continued supporting him afterwards. He teamed up with Life Rolls On right away too, a natural fit, he got involved in “extreme sitting” sports, with adapted surfing and chair-skating made for him.

Since getting into adapted surfing, Christiaan has been in several tournaments, including the U.S. Open of Surfing, and he‘s been busy surfing at events all summer. He also founded the non-profit, the Ocean Healing Group, to help young people with disabilities go adapted surfing. His organization is doing LOTS of cool things. Check them out: Ocean Healing Group.

What’s next

Other than surfing and being a rad dude, Christian also helps host events through Life Rolls On, such as the They Will Surf Again and They Will Skate Again events, where they bring out people with disabilities who have never done any extreme sitting sports.

And he also teaches adapted surfing at Shaka Beach Retreat in Costa Rica (owned by some of his friends) to kids with disabilities. Christiaan actually loves to travel and has done a lot since his accident, from surfing at beaches all around the world to passing out refurbished wheelchairs in developing countries for UCP Wheels for Humanity.

Why is Christian a superstar? He has refused to let his injury take a second of happiness from his life. Anyone who’s newly injured can definitely take a cue from this guy.

Did you rediscover new ways to do what you love after your injury like Christiaan Bailey? How did it go?

Watch the videos!

Christiaan Bailey interviewed on Fuel TV “They Will Skate Again”

–  Christiaan Bailey surfing in Costa Rica (shot with his Go Pro camera affixed to his board)

Volcom spotlight, Christiaan Bailey