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Emily's Story


Emily Quattrocchi

Emily shares her experiences as a cheerleader and filmmaker.

This content has a custom transcript:

Make sure you also check out Emily's YouTube channel!

[Title on screen reads, ‘Emily’s Story’]

[Our Site logo]

[Twenty something Emily in her wheelchair]

My name is Emily and I'm from a little town called Euroa. And I like to spend my days doing things I'm passionate about. That includes film-making - I love making videos. And I like cheerleading. It's such a great sport, I love it. I enjoy spending time with my friends and different things like that. So, in July 2017, I was on my way to work and I had a car accident, which is how I sustained my spinal injury, a T4, and a minor brain injury. I'm really lucky that I've had all my family and friends supporting me through it. It was so much easier having them there for me and everything. So, I spent five months in the rehab hospital and it was really good, because I was surrounded by other people with spinal injuries, I made lots of friends. And I was a little bit scared to leave, because I wouldn't be surrounded by all these people, I wouldn't have all these things to do. But once I left the rehab and I got back to living in the community, I realised that I still can do lots of different things and I still have lots of friends, I just have to do things a little bit differently.

Emily is in her wheelchair shopping in a supermarket]

I'm now out of hospital and enjoying life. So, one of my passions is cheerleading and I started that when I went to uni.

[Emily is performing a cheerleading routine in her wheelchair with other team members. They lift another girl above their heads]

When I had my injury and became paralysed, when I was in hospital, I was actually sad, because I thought I would never be able to do it again. I didn't know about ParaCheer. And then I saw a video on, I think it was Facebook or something like that, of someone in a wheelchair doing cheerleading. I messaged my old cheerleading coach and told him, "How do I do this?"

[Emily, at cheerleading training, has a harness wrapped around her and her chair. She is lifted onto the stage]

He said he would help me do it, and I got to compete in my first cheerleading competition.

[At the championships, Emily performs with her team, raising one of her team members, above her head]

And it was amazing, it was so good, just to hear the crowd cheering and be out there with my little team. It was...Oh, it was the best feeling! Since I've gotten back into cheerleading, there's been some challenges, because I have to do things a little bit differently.

[Emily in her wheelchair trains with other team members]

Being in a chair, for starters, is different from standing up and using your legs.

[Emily indicates her mid chest height]

But also, because I'm paralysed from here, I don't have my abs, so I have to hold their feet in different positions so I don't fall forward. It's just about experimenting and finding what works, because I can do all the things, I just need to find the right way.

[Emily practices with three other cheerleaders in a gym]

Film-making is a huge passion of mine and I love the art of telling a story through a camera. And it's something that I try and do all the time. I remember being in hospital, I was a bit scared to do it, because was like, "How am I gonna do it in a wheelchair?" And something that I did was I had one of my favourite nurses, I wanted to say thank you to her for all the work she does, so I made a little video and I got all the patients and nurses to be involved, as well, to say thank you. And she really appreciated it. And it also helped me get back into film-making and show that I can do the things I love.

[Emily in hospital eating a meal, and at rehab]

When I was in hospital, my family would film all the time. They would just...And I used to complain. I was like, "Stop, stop!" And they would always tell me, "You're gonna put it in a documentary one day. "You're gonna do that." I was like, "No, I'm not! No, I'm not!" And they were right, 'cause I did put it in a documentary. And I'm actually really grateful that they did, because it actually got into a film festival in Lorne, in Italy, in America. And that was always a dream of mine to get a film into a film festival. It was an amazing feeling. To see my film on the big screen playing, to see people, to hear people laughing, enjoying it, it was an incredible feeling. I have a pretty amazing life, I think. I love my life! And one way that I've been showing the world this is through my YouTube vlog.

[A caricature of Emily in her wheelchair with animated words appearing ‘Emily Quattrocchi Vlog 001. Today 20 July’]

I post a video every week showing all the fun adventures I get up to. People seem to like the vlog, so I'm pretty happy about that.

[Emily and three friends are covered in coloured powder at a Colour Run event]

If you're interested in checking out my YouTube vlog, you can search "Em Quattrocchi" on YouTube and you'll find it.

[Text on screen reads, ‘Watch more stories at Our Site oursite.wwda.org.au’]

[The logo for Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA)]

This story is tagged under:

Life Choices
Taking Part
Sex and Your Body
Safety and violence
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