Chelsie Hill and the Rollettes hosted their fifth annual Rollettes Experience on the weekend of July 22, 2021. Coloplast was the Diamond Sponsor, and Comfort Medical was a proud Silver Sponsor. The three-day event took place at the Sheraton LAX in Los Angeles, California.
Rolling into a beautiful ballroom full of energetic women dancing and encouraging each other to overcome their physical limitations and enjoy the moment was so inspirational! Over a hundred ladies in wheelchairs stepped out of their comfort zone to enjoy the great vibes in the room and the opportunity to learn fun new dance routines and meet new friends.
The fun weekend included a dynamic program: a meet and greet, pajama party, pool party, Yoga classes by Hailey Kinter, makeup class by Steph Aeilo, an array of panel speakers featuring our very own Coloplast Ambassador Tatiana Lee, guest choreographers, and a crew of energetic volunteers who lit up the room with their enthusiasm as they supported the Rolletres throughout the weekend.
Fourteen-year-old Luzi participated in the 2021 Rollettes Experience. I spoke to Liz, her mother, about Chelsie and the Rollettes' impact on Luzi. This is what she had to say:
“Luzi first learned about the Rollettes Experience about five years ago. I signed her up, and there were only about ten girls at that time, but Luzi absolutely loved it. To be in a room with a group of girls “who get it” was a total blessing. Since that first camp in 2016, it has gotten bigger and better every year, and I love that for all the participants. That one weekend out of the year when Rollettes Experience takes place, Luzi is one of many instead of the only one in the room.” Liz, Luzi’s mother.
The diversity in the room extended beyond age, gender, and background. With the help of the web, participants tuned in virtually, making this a global hit. We were blessed with its cultural diversity too! A lucky participant came all the way from Italy to participate in the Rollettes Experience. I asked Daniela, what inspired her to travel from Italy to join in the Rollettes Experience?
“So I am a really adventurous person, I love a good challenge, and I am constantly searching for new things to do. I am a good solo traveler, but I am not a dancer, and I often get stage fright, but I decided to make my first trip to LA for the Rollettes Experience in 2019. Before finding out about the event, I used to refuse to go to events for wheelchair users and disabled people just because somehow I would always end up feeling out of place. Still, I guess what inspired me the most to come to this particular event was the need for community and self-representation, the need for that new feeling I got from spending an entire day with a group of all women, all wheelchair users, most of them about the same age as me and with similar interests. I was so surprised that I could not let this opportunity pass by.”
As a person with a disability, we have a desire to feel included and accepted by our peers and by society. Chelsie Hill and the Rollettes are helping make this possible shifting perspective through dance, their beautiful dance videos, virtual dance classes, and their annual Rollettes Experience giving people with disabilities a sense of confidence and inclusion while sharing with the world that having a disability and using a wheelchair won't stop us from dancing and living our best life!
Dancing with your feet is one thing, dancing with your heart is what really makes dancing fun! Join the Rollettes Experience next year in-person or virtually you. You will definitely have a great time! Follow them all year:
Margarita Elizondo is a motivational speaker, founder of Rolling With Me, model, dancer and writer. She was paralyzed in 2006 from the chest down from an act of violence. She began speaking about her experience in churches and schools shortly after her injury. Margarita was crowned Ms. Wheelchair California 2013 and Mi Modelo Especial 2019, and she has used her titles as a platform to educate the public on the importance of fully including individuals with disabilities in our communities. In 2016, she was recognized as Ability Awareness Hero of the Year by Bank of America & Channel KPBS.
As Founder of Rolling With Me and the author of a children's book series, Margarita aspires to teach children to live in a diverse and inclusive world that gives value to every human being no matter our differences in backgrounds, beliefs or abilities.