Santa Monica News
Gabriel Cordell Makes History In Wheelchair
By Alex Mazariegos
Jul 9, 2013 - 1:32:52 PM

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Cordell being filmed while traveling down highway.

SANTA MONICA—On Friday, July 8, Gabriel Cordell arrived at his hometown of West Hempstead, New York after embarking on a 3,100 mile trip, which sent him in a historic journey across the country as the first person to do so by standard wheelchair.

 

The 42 year-old paraplegic left the Santa Monica pier on the first of April; he arrived as planned at his old high school. His travel spanned 99 days.

 

Cordell (born Suheil Aghabi) was born in Tripoli, Libya in 1970. At the age of 6, he moved with his family to the United States to establish a home in New York. Growing up in Long Island, he studied and played various sports throughout his childhood before discovering an innate passion for acting.

 

In 1992, a 22 year-old Cordell was paralyzed from the waist down while en route to his first professional acting audition in New York City. The automobile collision was violent enough to flip his vehicle over, “ejecting him 6 feet into the air, where he hit a telephone pole with his back and crushed his spinal cord at the sixth thoracic vertebrate,” according to his website rollwithme.org.

 

Despite the permanent change to his body caused by the accident, Cordell continued to pursue an acting and modeling career.

 

In February, he met with director and producer Lisa France to discuss his planned trip; further talks between the two inspired the director into filming the trek as a feature length documentary, “Roll With Me: A Journey Across America.” France aims to release the film in 2015.



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