DISABILITIES AND ANTI-BULLYING ADVOCATE, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER AND AUTHOR; FOUNDER OF FRIENDS OF GABE & IZZY
As a child, Gabrielle loved dance and dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina. That dream was shattered by a rare genetic neuromuscular disease, Friedreich’s Ataxia, that would eventually place her in a wheelchair. Gabe not only struggled with the devastation of the illness, but also endured constant and cruel bullying from classmates. The constant torment took her on a path of depression and isolation.
That all changed when Izzy, a long-eared coonhound pup, entered Gabe’s life. Izzy became Gabe’s best friend and constant companion. When this special friend mysteriously developed a condition mirroring Gabe’s, Gabe re-entered the world to get Izzy the best treatment available.
Speaking out for the voiceless Izzy gave her the courage to speak out for another voiceless group: the thousands of children bullied in American schools every day. Through countless personal trials, Gabe found her way back to the stage as an outspoken advocate against school bullying and has been encouraging and inspiring children all across the country by sharing her story during the last 11 years.