Who Is Brooke Ellison?
Brooke Ellison was struck by a car when she was 11, paralyzing her from the neck down. Her life accomplishments as a quadriplegic — including obtaining a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University and running for New York State Senate — have been an inspiration to many. In 2002, she and her mother published her autobiography, Miracles Happen: One Mother, One Daughter, One Journey.
Born in Long Island, New York, Ellison was struck by a car on her first day of seventh grade, paralyzing her from the neck down. Though given little chance of survival, through a combination of sheer will and family support, she has carved out an inspirational life for herself.
After scoring 1510 out of a possible 1600 on her College Board entrance exam, Ellison was accepted to Harvard University. With the tireless help of her mother, Jean Marie, who lived with her at Harvard, Brooke graduated magna cum laude in 2000. Her 90-page thesis, which she completed using a voice-activated computer, was titled, "Does Hope Float? The Study of Presence of Hope in Resilience."
After graduation, Ellison returned to Stony Brook, New York, to be with her family. As word spread of her achievement, she began traveling the country as a motivational speaker and making television appearances. In 2002, she and her mother published her autobiography, Miracles Happen: One Mother, One Daughter, One Journey.
Ellison was the subject of a film for A&E, The Brooke Ellison Story, directed by Christopher Reeve, who is also a quadriplegic. Ellison is also a member of the board of directors of the National Organization on Disabilities, and has plans to further her education at the master's program in public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
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