Six women who are influencers and advocates for disabled individuals from across the country united today in supporting Easterseals, an organization that for more than 100 years has been providing exceptional services, education, outreach and advocacy so people with disabilities can live, learn, work and thrive in their communities.
A sounding board on meaningful issues and human stories of the disability movement, the Easterseals Ambassadors will play a prominent role in raising awareness of Easterseals’ programs for parents, caregivers, veterans and persons with disabilities.
Each Easterseals Ambassador is an influencer and tireless advocate for individuals with disabilities. They will share stories that reflect their extraordinary lifestyles, amplifying their messages of equity and hope to millions of social media followers.
“People of all abilities should be able to live the life of their choosing, and the Easterseals Ambassadors are a phenomenal group of women with diverse backgrounds and remarkable accomplishments,” said Easterseals President and CEO Angela F. Williams. “We are so excited and honored to share their inspiring stories as they collaborate with Easterseals to advocate for the disability community in our shared purpose to change the way the world defines and views disability.”
Meet the Easterseals Ambassadors
The Easterseals Ambassadors will be partners in Williams’ advocacy on access to education, health care and employment. They live bold, transcendent lives that inspire and mobilize an activist generation:
- An inclusivity model, disability lifestyle influencer and Aerie ambassador, Paula Carozzo (Instagram @pauuzzo) was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 5. She moved from Venezuela to the United States and uses her social media platform and passion for fashion and beauty to inspire the disability movement and advance representation of people with disabilities.
- The night of her bachelorette party, Rachelle Chapman (@rachelles_wheels) suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injury in a pool accident. Paralyzed from the chest down, she made the decision to move forward in her life with positivity and determination. Chapman is an author, advocate, wife and mother who shares her story in her book, “The Promise: A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride and the Power of Love, Loyalty and Friendship.”
- A disability advocate and practicing nurse who represented her home state as Ms. Wheelchair New York in 2015, Andrea Dalzell (@theseatednurse) studied biology and neuroscience in college while earning two degrees in nursing. The face of Apple’s iWatch campaign, Dalzell was diagnosed with transverse myelitis at age 5 and began using a wheelchair full-time at 12. She continues to advocate for healthcare equity for people with disabilities, having witnessed inequities during the pandemic as a nurse at the height of the crisis.
- Social activist Geet (@theofficialgeet) is South Asia’s first actress who uses a wheelchair. Geet sustained permanent injuries in a car accident at age 10. In addition to earning a law degree, Geet is also an engineer who volunteers her time working with at-risk youth in India. A dynamic life coach and motivational speaker with a social media following of more than 17 million, Geet is an active influencer who is passionate about motivating and educating youth.
- A congenital amputee, Stephanie Thomas (@disabilityfashionstylist) has redefined the contours of fashion, putting together accessible looks as a disability fashion stylist and advocate. Thomas is also the founder of Cur8able, which provides disability-friendly clothing and practical advice. Thomas performed as a Chicago Bulls cheerleader and captain, despite early warnings from doctors that she may never be able to walk or dance independently. She is unveiling a project on March 8, International Women’s Day, featuring trailblazing women with disabilities on iconic magazine covers.
- Tiffany Yu (@imtiffanyyu) is the CEO and founder of Diversability, an award-winning social enterprise to rebrand disability through the power of community. Yu’s disability experience, resulting from a car accident at a young age, motivates the former investment banker’s advocacy and entrepreneurism. She founded the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter, a monthly microgrant program for disability projects that has awarded support to 42 disability projects in eight countries. In 2019, San Francisco Mayor London Breed appointed Yu to the San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council.
Easterseals Ambassadors also will draw attention to the organization’s nationwide disability initiatives. This year, Easterseals established its Black Child Fund to close gaps in childcare, education and healthcare equity that have widened throughout the pandemic. Easterseals also recently introduced a new advocacy program, All In, to encourage and guide employment of people with disabilities, as well as their inclusion and representation in marketing given that 1 in 4 people today are living with disability.