A Story About Women in Wheelchairs: They PUSH Boundaries!
LOS ANGELES (Jewish Journal/JTA) — Mia Schaikewitz parked her shiny black Mitsubishi Eclipse in front of her graphic design office in Pasadena, California, looking glamorous in her black leather jacket and purple eye shadow with matching fingernail polish. She opened her car door, lifted out a wheelchair and assembled it in 20 seconds flat. The chair was sporty, like her car, with a leopard-patterned seat that matched her purse.“I’ve got another chair at home that’s red and silver — it all depends on my mood and what I want to wear — it’s almost like an accessory,” she said breezily.“When I first got paralyzed, I used to count the seconds it took me to get into the car,” she said while hauling herself up a ramp with what looked like Herculean strength. “It was fun to see how many seconds I could shave off.”The 34-year-old graphic designer is one of four women — all paralyzed from the waist or neck down — profiled on the Sundance Channel’s new documentary series “Push Girls,” created by producer Gay Rosenthal (“Ruby”) and premiering in the US this week.Schaikewitz, who is Jewish, has used a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in her spinal cord when she was 15. Her good friends Angela Rockwood, 37; Auti Angel, 42; and Tiphany Adams, 29, were paralyzed in car accidents more than 10 years ago.