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Elena Anadolis: Disability Rights Advocate

I had the pleasure of interviewing Elena, for our LittleWins podcast S2, E3: Let’s Talk About It on the topics of self-love, identity, and advocacy.

We cover everything from experiencing discrimination as a child with cerebral palsy, what fueled her ability to break out of her shell. From there we talked about the self-love it takes to make choices we need for ourselves, no matter the outcome. We discuss how to make major plays, and how to turn advocacy into action.

Growing up, it was difficult for Elena to accept her disability, wanting only to fit in and not be defined by her diagnosis. She wanted to distance herself from her disability, and anything related to it. Thus, her path towards advocacy was circuitous. At fifteen, Elena’s mother guided her in this direction when they succeeded in making their church and cathedral wheelchair accessible. That victory sparked something in Elena, she started to see how her efforts became an impetus for change. However, it was through her sister Elizabeth that she gained her strength to speak up, “[she] is the reason that I have been able to come to a place of self-acceptance and my experiences with her allowed me to realize my passion for advocating for people with disabilities i.e., Cerebral Palsy.”

Now Elena works to help others like herself, like her sister, to find self-acceptance, peace, and their own voices for change.

Elena Andolis

Elena Anadolis is a disability rights advocate, speaker, writer, and consultant.  Elena graduated with a BA in Speech Communications & Rhetorical Studies from Hofstra University.  Elena serves as a founding member on boards such as the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at Columbia University Medical Center, is a founding member of the Savvy Cooperative, a platform that connects patients, caregivers, etc. with companies to be compensated for their expertise and experience and more. Elena has also co-authored a book chapter on disability studies in health communication pedagogy with for an academic book Pedagogy, Disability and Communication: Applying Disability Studies in the Classroom (Routledge Press, 2017) with her college mentor Dr. Andrew Spieldenner, Ph. D.

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