Mizzou Film Student Directs Life from Wheelchair

5 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Monday, August 27 2012 Aug 27, 2012 Monday, August 27, 2012 3:10:00 PM CDT August 27, 2012 in News
By: Zheng Hwuang Chia

COLUMBIA - Gabriella Garbero was one of the many students this summer who had a chance to go on a study abroad trip as a student at Mizzou. Garbero is also one of 6000 children born each year with Spina Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a motor neuron disease that weakens muscles throughout the body. SMA impairs her voluntary muscles' ability for day-to-day activities, such as walking, head and neck control, swallowing, and even breathing. Nonetheless, she went on a study abroad trip to Greece this summer, and she is enrolled in the film studies program at the University of Missouri.

Garbero, 21, studied abroad in Greece with the Mizzou's English department. Her peers who went on the trip did English-related subjects, while she did film. While those students roamed around the island of Serifos freely, with the help of her parents, Garbero was did her sightseeing from her wheelchair.

"My dad came up for the first two weeks and my mother for the second two," Garbero said.

Garbero was diagnosed with SMA when she was 13 months old. One of Garbero's biggest fears was to move out from her parents' house and to be on her own.

That was three years ago.

Garbero lives in her own apartment, with help from her two aides and two nurses. She has dreams of becoming a horror film director.

"I like horror movies because they show you what people are like deep down on the insides, without all of their masks," said Garbero as she fidgets with the joystick on her power wheelchair.

"All of their expectations of society are thrown away."

After graduation, Garbero plans to move to New York or California. It's still up in the air whether or not Garbero wants to work right out of college or go to a graduate school to study more about film. Either way, she said she is on the move.

Last summer, Garbero interned at KSDK Channel 5 in St. Louis where she wrote and directed a promo for the station's adoption segment. And during her study abroad trip this summer, Garbero came up with a promotional video where she directed the filming process and edited the videos.

Night nurse Julie Jones has been working with Garbero since she was a freshman. Garbero is currently a senior.

"I liked her right off the bait," said Jones, sharing a knowing look with Garbero. "I help her to shower, and get her BiPAP."

A BiPAP machine is a breathing apparatus that helps its user get more air into his or her lungs. Garbero, who has sleep apnea, said her muscles are too weak to work effectively when she is sleeping.

Garbero said she was once afraid of the time she would have to live without her parents.

"I was petrified to live by myself," said Garbero. "You don't know if you're sleeping and your nerves decide. ‘Oh I quit.'"

"I am not 100 percent over the fear of me calling out (and) no one being there. But you learn to get past it. I think I was emotionally ready to live away from home. The physical aspect--that got kind of scary."

Although Garbero gets scared sometimes, she said she is happy with how far she has come.

Garbero is currently working on her visual resume even though she will not graduate until May. Like most future graduates, she is worried about not being able to get a job after graduation, and that concern has nothing to do with her disability.

"I think it is hard for me to get a job because I'm an awkward human being," Garbero laughs. "I'm not graceful. I'm gonna laugh at really awkward times at my first job, and ask questions like ‘Do you want to hear a scary story?'"

Garbero's life motto is to be an encouragement to others. That is why she is always smiling, and laughing.

"I want to be successful and happy. This sounds crazy but one of my goals is to help someone else discover themselves," Garbero said with twinkle in her eyes.

"I might never know exactly about who I am. But I like discovering that. And I want to help others to discover themselves through my movies or my TV shows."

Garbero also wants to produce a documentary about how people in wheelchairs date, particularly women. She chuckled a little when she said she recently started an on-line dating profile on a disabled dating website.

"It started out okay, and then it took a hard left turn," Garbero said as she shared her experience. "There are some guys out there who have ‘wheelchair fetish.'"

Garbero said she was not a big fan of guys with ‘wheelchair fetish.' After her brief online dating adventure, Garbero said she realized that she wants to date someone who is as big of a movie buff as she is. She is a huge fan of the TV series, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

As far as marriage goes, she wants to be with someone who shares her faith. Garbero said her Mormon beliefs have shaped her to be who she is today.

"Just knowing that God doesn't make mistakes, (that) he'll always love me--and I'm not just some genetic error that happened," said Garbero. "I'm actually meant to be the way I am. Bad vision. Bad jokes."

More News

Grid
List
NEW BLOOMFIELD - After months of tension between citizens and city officials, the city council met for the first time... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 9:30:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
AUXVASSE - Police in Auxvasse posted a warning on Facebook Wednesday about unlicensed salesmen in the area, but the company... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 7:15:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri is changing some of its rules and regulations to offer more leave and layoff... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 5:34:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Supreme Court ruling that allows states to charge online retailers sales tax has Columbia businesses rejoicing. ... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 5:18:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A judge has decided in favor of University of Missouri graduate students who want to unionize. The... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 4:37:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
HUNTSVILLE – A man accused of killing a Moberly woman five years ago is found guilty of murder in the... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 4:01:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in Top Stories
WASHINGTON - Gov. Mike Parson met with President Donald Trump Thursday to discuss Missouri's top priorities. “I appreciate President... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 3:51:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri mental health advocates showed up at a meeting Thurday to voice their concerns about budget cuts... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 3:32:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Although "Shwe Market International Foods" mainly sells Asian products and "Chihuahua Mexican Market" Hispanic products, both stores have... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 2:34:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU has appointed Latha Ramchand as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. She was dean... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 2:01:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man and woman Wednesday after a reported robbery with a gun earlier in the week.... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 12:00:35 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
PINEVILLE (AP) — A husband and wife from southwestern Missouri have been ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution for cashing... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 10:22:42 AM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Fashion designer Kate Spade will be buried Thursday in Kansas City, where she was born.... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 7:36:00 AM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – The black bear population in Missouri is growing, and with the growth comes an increased chance for a... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 7:19:00 AM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU received a one million dollar grant as part of an inclusive initiative from the Howard Hughes Medical... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 7:18:00 AM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
NEW YORK - All Mizzou fan's eyes are on the NBA draft, which begins Thursday night, and who will pick... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 7:09:00 AM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Last week, a giant dust storm on Mars took up about a quarter of the Red Planet. Now,... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 4:26:00 AM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Amid overall lower enrollment numbers, the UM Board of Curators will vote on the FY 2019 budget at... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 1:28:00 AM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
3am 65°
4am 65°
5am 64°
6am 64°