Brooke Ellison

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Brooke Ellison
Born Brooke Mackenzie Ellison
(1978-10-20) October 20, 1978 (age 38)
Education Harvard University
Occupation Politician

Brooke Mackenzie Ellison (born October 20, 1978)[1] is an American politician. She is known for being the first quadriplegic to graduate from Harvard University.


On September 4, 1990, at the age of 11, Ellison was hit by a car while walking home on her first day of junior high school, resulting in her being paralyzed from the neck down. Although Ellison received several new disabilities including the fact that she was completely dependent on other people, she continued to get excellent grades and graduated from Ward Melville High School with high honors, and was accepted by Harvard. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a bachelor of science in cognitive neuroscience in 2000, and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. In 2014 Rutgers University awarded Brooke Ellison with an honorary doctorate in humane letters.[2] Ellison completed her Ph.D. in 2015 from Stony Brook University.[3]

In November 2015, Ellison teamed up with director James Siegel to create the winning documentary "Hope Deferred",[4] which aims to educate the general public about embryonic stem cell research.

The Brooke Ellison Story[edit]

Ellison was portrayed by Lacey Chabert and Vanessa Marano in The Brooke Ellison Story. The 2004 television film was directed by fellow quadriplegic Christopher Reeve, star of Superman. It is also notable for being Reeve's final directing project. The film aired after Reeve's death.

Candidate for State Senate[edit]

Brooke Ellison ran for New York State Senate as a Democrat in 2006 but was defeated by the Republican incumbent, John Flanagan. Ellison has not commented on whether or not she intends to run for office again. One of Ellison's principal issues is her support for embryonic stem cell research. She serves on the advisory board of the Genetics Policy Institute.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ellison, Brooke and Jean Ellison Miracles Happen: One Mother, One Daughter, One Journey (Hyperion Press, New York 2002). ISBN 0-7868-6770-1.


External links[edit]