Wags of SCI About Us Image Website

WHO WE ARE

We are women who have partners with Spinal Cord Injuries. When everyone else goes home to their own lives, we are the ones that are still there. Our unique caregiver/lover dynamic can only be truly understood by others like us. We are creating a strong network of women around the world supporting other women who are dealing with this injury alongside their men.

WHAT WE DO

We have formed a meet up and support group exclusively for Wives/Girlfriends of men who have sustained a Spinal Cord Injury, where we can discuss our experiences and learn from one another. Our #1 goal is to provide outreach in our communities to ensure that we are there for women who are new to this life. We believe in creating a community of support, friendship and love with no judgements. We believe in the power of "in person" connection and friendship. We also function to connect women in dual role relationships with others close to them!

WHY ARE WE UNIQUE?

Our unique roll as a caregiver AND lover is a challenging but rewarding dynamic. Our role is something not many people can understand, unless you have or are living this lifestyle. We found that when we connected in person with those who were like us, we felt a sense of relief and sisterhood that was unexplainable and desperately needed. The resources and insight that other WAGS of SCI have for one another is essential. We are the ones who are there when everyone goes home, back to their own lives, back to their own normal. We see the things others don't. We have a vulnerability with our partners that cannot be duplicated. We live this life alongside our partners, and are committed to providing community and outreach to women like us in a positive, constructive and resourceful way. We CHOOSE this life, and love our partners for who they are, regardless of any disability.

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MEET THE FOUNDERS

WAGS of SCI was founded by Elena Pauly and Brooke Pagé in Vancouver BC Canada. Both Elena and Brooke's partners had sustained recent Spinal Cord Injuries and the women felt very alone in their new lives as girlfriends and caregivers of men with sudden, life changing injuries. After a chance meeting over instagram, they soon realized they lived just blocks away from one another. After developing a friendship and relishing in their newfound sisterhood, the women decided that they never wanted anther woman in their shoes to feel alone again. They began WAGS of SCI by starting an instagram account in November 2017 and hosting events around their city - and the rest is history. Since then they have met women from all over the world, and connected thousands of other women with one another who are in similar inter-abled relationships. The group also functions to spread knowledge and awareness surrounding relationships and spinal cord injuries. Both Elena and Brooke work tirelessly to be advocates for their followers as well as doing outreach for the WAGS of SCI cause.

The longer term goals of the WAGS of SCI are to eventually to start a non profit foundation catering to spreading awareness of the mental, emotional and physical needs of women in inter-abled relationships, as well as raising money to send deserving couples on romantic trips they otherwise couldn't afford.

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Brooke Pagé

Co - Founder, WAGS of SCI

My husband (boyfriend at the time) Evan was injured in a work accident when a load of unsecured flooring fell on his head, breaking his neck at the C4 level in 2014. Since then I have been devoted full time to his care, as well as helping to find a new normal for us as a couple. After his injury we decided that nothing would hold us back, and decided to get married abroad in Italy in 2016. We have continued to travel the world whenever we can, and refuse to let our limitations hold us back. I am the marketing voice behind WAGS of SCI and enjoy technology and design.

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Elena Pauly

Co - Founder, WAGS of SCI

My boyfriend Dan was injured on our first out of country, tropical vacation to Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba on January 2, 2016. He dove into the shallow end of pool and broke his C5 and became a quadriplegic on the spot. Dan had surgery in Cuba before being air lifted home. Dan and I packed up our entire lives, sold his home and moved to Vancouver B.C. Dan and I are very involved in our community and have have found our place in Vancouver.  I love the social and event aspects of WAGS of SCI, and specialize in PR, media/community relations and outreach for the group.

THE WAGS OF SCI AMBASSADORS

These women have been chosen by the WAGS of SCI founders to be WAGS of SCI Ambassadors in various cities because of their love for spreading awareness and sisterhood in all that they do. These women are passionate about helping others, and donate their time to this cause. They provide outreach and support to new WAGS of SCI in their areas and lead events and meet-ups in their cities. They are the main point of contact for their areas, and are looking forward to connecting with you!

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Sarah Gibson

Atlanta Ambassador

Hi my name is Sarah! My husband and I have been married fro 3.5 years and together for 10. Ryan sustained his Spinal Cord Injury just over 3 years ago. I know how scary and lonely the aftermath of SCI can be. I could not have imagined our life looking like it does now, then. I hope I can help some other WAGS of SCI know that they will be ok and that they are not alone!

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Cameron Hemphill

Atlanta Ambassador

My name is Cameron! My husband Trey and I have been married for 2 years, together for 10! Trey sustained a C5 and T5 SCI in January 2016, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. Although our lives are different now, we have found that with a little support and a positive attitude, we can overcome just about anything that is thrown our way. I am hoping to be that support for other WAGS of SCI and empower them to roll on!

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Jeannette Krikorian

LA: San Gabriel Valley Ambassador

Hi, my name is Jeannette! My husband, Apkar, and I got married under a year ago and have been together for 6 years. Apkar sustained a spinal cord injury at the C5-C6 level over 2.5 years ago. Though the road to recovery was tough and isolating in the beginning, we have been blessed with amazing support systems to uplift and push us through, including WAGS of SCI. I am excited to connect with more women because I know we are stronger together!

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Catie Hargrave

LA: San Gabriel Valley Ambassador

My name is Catie Hargrave and I met my husband, Hal, three years after a car accident left him a quadriplegic. He is a C5-6 injured in 2007 at the age of 17. We met in college at the University of La Verne, outside of Los Angeles, in 2010 and became best friends for 5 years before we started dating. We got married in September 2018 and are navigating the every day challenges of SCI life and I can not wait to connect with other ladies in our situation!

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Mikeala Cook

Denver Ambassador

Jon and I met a year and a half ago after his accident. We now live together with our pup Jynx! I am super excited to meet and connect with other women going through similar experiences!

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Liese Homer

New Orleans Ambassador

My name is Liese Homer, I am 43 and I have been married to Jason for 17 years. We have three children, 20, 16, and 10. Jason was injured on Jan. 8, 2015 from a 22 ft. fall at a chemical plant he worked at. Four years later, we have learned how to travel and do so often. We both participate in Mardi Gras parades and get out of the house as much as possible. We both would like to be a bigger part of the SCI community and are super passionate about advocacy and emotional support.
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Ashley Kurtz

Philadelphia  Ambassador

My name is Ashley and my fiancé’s name is Kiel. Kiel and I met a little over 5 years ago now, and have been on cloud 9 ever since. When we first began dating, I have to admit I learned many things that go along with someone who has sustained a spinal cord injury. Kiel broke his neck at the age of 14 while playing football, and became a C5 quadriplegic. Our relationship has taught me many lessons, educated me and brought more awareness to my outlook on individuals with disabilities. Kiel’s resilience to the injury has not defined him, and I’ve fallen in love with his quirky personality, and his infectious smile. I feel so blessed and can not wait for our newest adventure in marriage for the fall of 2019!

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Ashley Lyerla

Indiana Ambassador

My name is Ashley Lyerla and my husband's name is Jacob. We've been together for three years and married for two. We met online when Jacob was six years post-incident. Jacob is a T11/T12 incomplete, missing a partial limb. His injuries were sustained while deployed to Afghanistan. Balancing best friend, wife/lover, and caretaker is a precarious act that I'm still learning to master. Finding WAGS of SCI has been such a blessing for me. It has allowed me to connect with so many other women in similar situations, reminding when I'm in the struggle, I am not alone. I am well versed in the US VA system in regards to service connected injuries. I'm also very familiar with #ivf4vets as well as IVF post-SCI. I am always willing to connect with other WAGS and provide any assistance I can.
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Edina Mahoney

New England Area Ambassador 

Hi, my name is Edina Mahoney. I met my husband, Michael, 17yrs ago, 22yrs after his diving accident that left him a C6-7 incomplete quadriplegic. We have four amazing children who were all born into this SCI life and have adjusted quite well.
Based on my personal experience, having a great support system is very helpful, BUT having the RIGHT TYPE of support system is EVERYTHING! This group has been truly life changing and uplifting. I am honored to be a part of it

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Inge Van Der Merwe

South Africa Ambassador

Hi, I'm Inge, I live in South Africa with my fiancé, who is a C5 quadriplegic. We met and started dating for 3 months when he had his diving accident, almost 3 years ago. I'm a very happy and positive person, who loves to see the humor in everything, but the first 2 years was tough. I don't know what my emotional state would have been if I had not been part of THIS community. My wish is for no WAG to ever feel alone going through this SCI journey. I want to try my best to reach every "old" and new WaG in South Africa to help keep building this amazing community of supporting superwomen.

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Kaitlan Burkhalter

Mississippi Ambassador

Hi there! My name is Kaitlan Burkhalter. I met my boyfriend, Will Graves, in 2017 at the University of MS when I was 20 and he was 24. He is a C5 C6 complete quadriplegic due to a car accident on New Years Eve of 2009. Will especially loves photography, music, and being outdoors. I love painting, reading, and writing. Our ability to endure life’s challenges is deeply rooted in our faith. We welcome any chance to meet new people and be a part of a community - thank you WAGS of SCI for giving us this chance. Let’s spread some empowerment together!

Connect With Us..

We don't want any wife or girlfriend of SCI to ever feel alone! We have devoted our lives to raising awareness and connecting women with one another around the world. If you have questions, want to be connected with others in your city, are interested in contributing to our cause, or just need to talk, email us anytime!