Below, Edna Serrano of the Rollettes shares her story of growing up with a disability and overcoming obstacles to lead the way for other young women who roll.
Edna Serrano: A Survivor From the Beginning
She was only weeks old when Edna Serrano unknowingly survived her first major life challenge. When she was born, Edna had a neuroblastoma tumor on her back that affected her spinal cord and by the time she was a month old, it was the size of a fist. After undergoing the first of many surgeries, Edna became permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Since she can remember, she has used a wheelchair for mobility.
Edna was born in Mexico and lived there until she was five years old. “Medical resources were limited and many schools weren’t accessible where we lived,” Edna recalls. “After my dad had a bad car accident, we moved to San Diego to be close to my mom’s family so she could find work.”
After arriving in the U.S., Edna’s mom heard about a local school that would be great for her daughter. They learned that the Greg Rogers Elementary School in San Diego provided services for kids with all abilities, including diagnostic testing, communications and activities of daily living training, speech therapy, and adaptive physical education. Physical and occupational therapy were even provided to qualifying students.
Edna’s mom enrolled her at Rogers Elementary knowing that her world would be opened up to new opportunities and abilities she didn’t know she had. There, Edna learned to swim, transfer from her wheelchair and even self-cath. In middle school, though, is when she fell in love with dance.
At 13-years-old, Edna joined a cheerleading program and her love of dance was born. Not long after, she hired a dance instructor to learn to dance with an able-bodied partner for her quinceanera.
In the Hispanic culture, a quinceanera is a traditional, formal celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, marking her passage from girlhood to womanhood.
Unfortunately, Edna was about to face another medical challenge – one that would take years to recover from. When she was 16, Edna developed a severe pressure sore and related infection that eventually spread to her bladder. She spent three years trying to heal the wound and two of those in the hospital. For most of that time, she was forced to lay prone and never sit up.
Edna was 19 when she got out of the hospital and was allowed back in her chair. The several years of isolation, discomfort and worry as a teenager had taken their toll, though. Edna was struggling with some depression and went to see a psychologist to work through it all. One day, her counselor brought up a TV show called Push Girls, and Edna had no idea how her life was about to change.
Edna Finds Her Tribe
Out of curiosity, Edna looked up Push Girls and gave it a watch. She felt an immediate connection with one of the stars, Chelsie Hill, because she was a dancer and they were close in age. Not long after, Chelsie put out a call for dancers to attend her first dance bootcamp. Edna was reluctant to enroll because she wasn’t sure she had the wheelchair skills to participate, but her counselor encouraged her to try.
Edna’s audition involved learning a dance routine and sending in a video. Shortly thereafter, Chelsie called Edna and personally invited her to attend her dance workshop…and the rest is history. Edna recently celebrated five years dancing with the Rollettes wheelchair dance team.
“When I first met Chelsie and the girls, I thought I was pretty independent. I mean, I could accomplish daily tasks like self-care and transferring. But, I didn’t even know that it would be possible for me to drive or travel alone. Chelsie kind of showed me the way and guided me through the process. Today, I’m more independent than ever,” Edna says.
The Rollettes have gained so much attention and popularity over the last few years, that it has been quite an exciting ride. Between the photo shoots, dance performances and frequent travel, Edna remains passionate about continuing to empower her community and serving as the “roll model” for others that she didn’t have growing up. She vows to always hold close her mama’s advice.
“My mom always reminds me to never forget where I came from. She says success is great, but to remember that I’ve come so far from a poor, little town in Mexico. Honestly, I’m just really blessed to be able to speak English and Spanish. I want to be able to share my story and inspire other young women like me – who may not know these opportunities exist,” Edna explains.
Edna Serrano and the Rollettes are Boundless
Lately, Edna has posted a lot of videos in Spanish on her social media pages and she plans to continue doing so. It’s important to her that her message gets through, not just to fans in the U.S. and not just to people who speak English, but to people anywhere that need encouragement.
Through her personal example, Edna hopes that people will see it is possible to follow their dreams and do things that truly make them happy.
Edna Serrano Believes in Cure Medical Catheters
Cure Medical makes a wide range of intermittent catheters to serve people’s individual needs. Edna believes the Cure Twist is perfect for her busy lifestyle.
“I love that the lubricant in the Twist is a gel and not a messy liquid,” she shares. “It’s much easier than products that look similar to it that I’ve used in the past. I also appreciate that Cure Medical doesn’t make their catheters with scary chemicals. That’s actually amazing! Our bladders are important and we need to take care of them,” Edna emphasizes.
To request free samples of the Cure Twist® Ready-to-Use Catheter or any Cure Medical catheter, click here.
“We’re also so thankful to Cure Medical for sponsoring the 2018 Rollettes Experience! It means so much to us and allows us to do the work we do,” Edna continues.
This August, the Rollettes will host an intensive dance experience, the Rollettes Experience International Camp 2018, along with their Be Boundless Summit, bringing together people from all over the globe. Open to all ages and abilities, we welcome you to partake in this life-changing bundle of moments, regardless of dance background.
The Rollettes Experience is more than just dance. It’s about finding someplace where you fit in perfectly.
Edna and the rest of the ladies on the Rollettes team are excited to welcome more than 120 women and kids attending from 9 different countries at this year’s Experience. The Rollettes Experience encompasses the team’s mission to create a community that redefines what it means to be strong, female, and resilient.
Cure Medical is a proud supporter of the Rollettes and a primary financial sponsor of the 2018 Rollettes Experience.