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When loungewear clothing brand Aerie dropped their #AerieReal campaign, the world got a severe case of inclusive diversity. There were models with insulin pumps, canes and ostomy bags but one model in particular got top news coverage: 21-year-old Georgia native, Abby Sams, who rocked her wheelchair in her shots. Seeing a young woman in a well-recognized campaign that was being celebrated in their clothes AND her wheelchair/walking crutches brought the conversation of diversity and disability representation to mainstream media. We got messages, tweets and DMs all freaking out over how excited they were to see girls like themselves on TV, in magazines and in commercials. But Abby’s not just a model representing chronic illness (like her own experiences with RSD, EDS and POTS), she’s also now using her massively growing Instagram following to document her latest passion project in her life: wheelchair racing. Abby is using her fresh advocacy style to make the public comfortably open-minded on topics like travel accessibility, inclusivity and the power of adaptive sports. In this stylish episode, Abby and Dominique talk about Abby’s journey to becoming one of Aerie’s models and what makes her favorite things like top Aerie clothes in her closet that are most accessible to wear, her top activism slogan shirts—which you can see all over her Instagram—and dream name for her racing wheelchair, develops the main issues brands run into when they ignore bringing products that are diverse AND functional, list off all the ways every young person can take the first few steps into becoming their own advocate, name the how-to’s when it comes to breaking stigmas on being young with health struggles, give insider tips on how you can talk accessibility without ‘scaring off’ the healthy-able-bodied community, get super real about Abby’s journey to bringing wheelchair racing into her life—and how anyone with any level of sporting experience can get into adaptive sports, regardless of chronic illness/disability, advise how people get find adaptive sporting opportunities in your area of the world. And during this episode, Abby and Dominique empower your face off as they talk about how they brought athleticism into their chronic illness lives while understanding the stigma of ‘Paralympian-level only’ for adaptive sports does not apply when you want to just have some fun, get to hear some truly funny and unfortunate stories of Abby’s experience around cities like Brooklyn when the public see ambulatory wheelchair users like Abby for the first time, lay out the best tools, apps and advice for everyone looking to see if places like restaurants, stores, concert venues and universities are accessible (and you MUST take notes), and we create the medically adult-ish© guidebook to finding some stigma-breaking clothing brands, hashtags to boost your disability awareness following, and the must-have mobility aids for life and sports. With Abby Sams, you get to have a jam-packed episode that you’ll have on repeat when you want to be motivated, inspired and have some major laughs to boost any week of the year! See for privacy and opt-out information.
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