Wags of SCI About Us Image Website

Our Approach

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!

Our Story

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

Vancouver BC, Canada

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

Vancouver, BC Canada

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 AREA 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!

Map of the world Ambassadors WAGS 2021
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Sarah Gibson

Atlanta, Georgia 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 Georgia 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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Brittany Wilson

Illinois Ambassador

Hi there, I’m Brittany! I’m a wife and a mom to three of the most incredible little girls, which can be crazy in it of itself, but we have an extra little piece to keep us on our toes! Kaleb, my incredible husband is a c6/c7 incomplete quadriplegic. Kaleb and I met when I was just 17 on a mission trip in San Diego, and over the next four years tried an on again off again long distance relationship. In October of 2012 I decided it was time to be all in and move to New Orleans, where Kaleb was stationed with the United States coast guard. I never made the move... Kaleb suffered a diving accident on November 10th, 2012 leaving him paralyzed. From that moment on we have been pretty much attached at the hip, living this quad life to the fullest! We have struggled a lot, he has fallen out of his chair a lot, but most of all we have laughed a lot!

My goal is to help other find their joy in this crazy life, to find their hope, and most of all keep laughing! Life after sci is hard, but can still be so beautiful!
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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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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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Heidi Estrada

New England Area Ambassador 

My name is Heidi and I’ve been married to my husband Dave for 15 years.  With live in a Boston suburb with our daughter- our greatest joy!  I met Dave 6 years after his T4 complete spinal cord injury from a motorcycle accident. I was drawn to his strength, resilience, and tenacity. Dave has always been very involved with the SCI community and one of the things I admire most about him is his dedication to helping newly injured people through peer mentoring. I’m so happy to be a part of WAGS because I love being able to support other women and help them see that life after a spinal cord injury can still be wonderful and fulfilling!

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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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Vasso Konstantakakos

New York Area Ambassador

As a 34 year-old Native New Yorker, I've spent the past 12 years as a physical education teacher at the Bronx High School of Science. Growing up practicing gymnastics, martial arts and figure skating, I now teach and coach Girls Gymnastics and Girls Fencing. After Dimitri's injury I was inspired by marathon runners, running for Team Reeves and so started running as a hobby at first, but has become a lifestyle & passion. Now I attend races all across New York City for Team Reeves and in support of Dimitri and SCI Awareness. Coaching and helping others always came natural to me, which is why when Dimitri had his devastating accident it was second nature for me to learn the ropes and dive right in.
Learning, helping and coaching him throughout this drastic new way of life, we have both learned so much more as an interabled couple and we have gotten closer by ten folds due to the challenges we both faced. I didn't know or have anyone to lean on, learn from or help guide me through these uncharted waters. We learned to overcome challenges and take on problems and situations we never thought possible. Through trial and error I, as well as he, learned how to handle this life alone. This is where WAGS of SCI comes in. The WAGS have given me the love, support, guidance and overwhelming knowledge that I could have only dreamed of during those hard first years and I'm so grateful for this sisterhood.
I like to emphasize on the importance of having a strong support system and resources to turn to when tragedy strikes, especially when there are new members desperately in search of guidance, support and knowledge in the early stages and every stage after. Showing them that they are not alone in this and that there is someone there to lean on and help in answering questions no one could imagine asking elsewhere. Living as a WAG really sets you apart from the rest of the world and that is a special thing.
It's who I am. -  Vasso
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Halley Martinez

South New Jersey Area Ambassador

Hi I’m Halley! I live in South Jersey at the beach with my husband Teudy and our 2 boys. Teudy is a C6 quadriplegic from a freak accident in the ocean in August 2016. At the time of his accident, I was 3 weeks away from giving birth to our youngest son so our lives were flipped in many ways. Charlie was born about 4 weeks later while Teudy worked hard in rehab. This injury has took us through many lows, but also made us such a stronger family and as individuals. I absolutely love connecting with other WAGS of SCI and being a part of this incredible sisterhood! @halleyloujah

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Sara Callagy

Arizona Ambassador

Hi, my name is Sara! My fiancé Joe and I have been together for almost 5 years now. We live in the Phoenix, AZ area and love it so much! Joe sustained a C6 SCI in November of 2005, at the young age of 16, during High School Football practice. We met in the summer of 2014 while I was interning at the gym he plays Wheelchair Rugby at, and shortly after began dating (whoops lol). I was so drawn to his smooth, funny & infectious personality! His ability to push through the obstacles of his injury and become as independent as he is, has taught me so much about resiliency and the ability to appreciate life at every phase! When Joe isn’t traveling – he plays for the USA Wheelchair Rugby Team; small brag here – and when I am not working, we love to travel, garden, and stay as active as possible! I can’t wait to connect with all you amazing WAGs, and know I am here to support you through it all! My hope is that I can show women that although this life can present with difficulties, life after an SCI can be so fulfilling and there is always so much to be thankful for!

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Anthi-Maria

Greece Ambassador

My name is Anthi-Maria, my husband's name is Nick and we are from the beautiful Greek island of Rhodes. I am an Interior Architectural Designer, Event Manager and Hotelier and Nick is an Electrical Engineer and an Entrepreneur. We have been together for 8 years, married for almost 1 year and have known each other since we were 12 years old; we were in the same class at school and I always had a crush on him! We finally got together when we were 20 when we were both studying at univerisities in Athens, Greece and that day is still one of the happiest days of my life!

My husband was injured in the early hours of 26th of October 2019, after diving in the pool at our wedding reception venue, a few minutes before we were due to depart. He broke his neck at the C5 and C6 level which has left him paralyzed from the chest down and an incomplete tetraplegic.As we are both new in this journey, what he have realized is that learning is a process of being open to change. We are lucky to have each other as we experience this new life together every step of the way and we are certain that our strong bond will always, as it always has, lead us to something great! Nick believes that everything happens for a reason. I don't agree, however I strongly believe that something positive can come out of anything negative (in most cases) and this is what we are trying to achieve together!

As before, we are determined and commited to continue travelling the world, enjoying the different cultures that we get to experience and chase innovation in every aspect of our lives. It is of course hard to share our wedding anniversary with Nick's accident anniversary, but we hope as we continue in this journey together that this will only make us stronger!

As a WAGS of SCI Greece Ambassador, I will be there and stand by all the women that need my support and help them with all my heart! This community is a blessing and I am so happy and proud to be a part of it!

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Madison Toombs

Saskatchewan, Canada Area Ambassador

My name is Madison! I met Jacob in September of 2018 just 4 months after his accident. He is a T9-T10 incomplete injury. It took some time to figure out our unique situation. Jacob is a competitive water skier for the national team, and I am a student working towards my degree in social work. Jacob and I are both devoted to helping out other couples going through similar things to what we did. WAGS of SCI have taught me so much and helped me to find my place in the community. I am excited to meet and connect with other WAGS! Instagram handle is @maddytoombs   

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Lea Schneider

Germany Area Ambassador

Hey, my Name is Lea. I am married to Kamal since one year after his accident in 2013. He has a SCI from C4 to C6.We live in the South of Germany and travel ,if possible, regulary to our second home in Lebanon. I was there from the first second and have fought our way through emotions, legal stuff and insurance chaos. We have become a very strong team and love to share our experience and knowledge. That’s why I couldn’t be more excited to be the Ambassador for Germany. I truly believe the sisterhood and pool of ressources of the WAGS of SCI can change someones live for the better. Instagram handle is @lea_scneider_farhat

THE WAGS OF SCI SOCIAL AMBASSADORS

You can find them online sharing LOVE and sisterhood on any day! Catch up with the WAGS of SCI Social Ambassadors on their Instagram accounts or on our Facebook Private Group!

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Alice Cooper, UK

@alicecoops92

Hiya! I’m Alice, and I have been with my Fiancé Gavin, for 3 years (we’re getting married in July 2020!). He’s a C4 quadriplegic following a mountain bike accident when he was 14yrs old. Dating Gav has been a huge learning curve for me, but we tackle each day with a positive attitude. We refuse to let Gav’s injury prevent us from having a lovely time! Wags of Sci have been the best support system for me throughout our journey, and I’m very excited to be representing and helping connect such an incredible group of women

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Kassandra Jensen, Seattle/Portland

@kassandrajensen

Hi! My name is Kassandra, I am an artist and model living in Seattle with my partner Eric, who is a musician. He sustained a SCI about 13 years ago and it’s a T4 complete. He is always pushing the limits and encourages me to do the same.

I hope by sharing here I can help us WAGS find new limits with in ourselves, our partners and awareness with in and beyond this community.

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Laura Yanez Aguirre, Cathedral City, CA

@laura_m_yanez

Hi, my name is Laura! I’m a former news anchor/reporter turned lifestyle videographer, wife and mama. My husband Aaron is a C4-C6 incomplete quadriplegic. We met in middle school and started dating in high school, six months after his accident. Aaron broke his neck at wrestling practice on January 5, 2005, while doing a human pyramid with his teammates. We got married in 2016 and welcomed our baby boy into the world in 2019. From high school sweethearts, to a college breakup, marriage, self-employment and now parenthood, we're constantly learning and sharing about life and love with a Spinal Cord Injury. We’re excited to spread awareness with WAGS and learn from others in the SCI community!

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Alexa Ritchie, Maryland

@thegoodlifewithalex

Alexa is a health and wellness educator from Maryland. Her partner Ty is a Quadriplegic and they live with their dog Lyla! Alexa works hard to coach and motivate other women to transform their minds and bodies, and inspires us all to lead our best lives!

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Rebecca Minna, Los Angeles

@rfm1974

I chose this life. I met my husband 4 years after his spinal cord injury. I chose it because I’ve never met a more humble, introspective, sensitive, inspiring person - EVER. He can be a bit Xtra at times, but he is so amazing that none of the physical inconveniences are ever even seen. It just is. I love him beyond physical and my favorite part of being a wag of sci is the closeness. The seriously, unconditional, ride or die love that we have because of what we go through together, everyday. It is soul building. And isn’t that what we’re here to do?

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Dayna Cruz, New York

@dayna0824

Hi my name is Dayna Cruz and my husbands name is Christopher Cruz, we are from New York. We’ve been together for 16 years - married for 2 years and we have a beautiful 2yr old baby girl. On our honeymoon a little over 1 year ago my husband sustained a spinal cord injury while diving off a boat in Cartagena, Colombia. My husband Christopher who was a Union Carpenter is now a C5-C6 quadriplegic. This life is a roller coaster, but like I told my husband while he was fighting for his life on the boat “We Got This”. As from the beginning my husband and I had and still have an amazing support system which is very important. I truly love supporting others & love helping any which way I can whether it’s by sharing my experience, giving advice or paying it forward. I’m more then happy to be apart of this sisterhood the “WAGS” because We may be Miles apart but we are close at Heart.

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!