Jul 01, 2024

Disability Pride Month With Shae

From a life-altering spinal cord injury to the Paralympic stage - that's the incredible journey of Shae Graham. For the Wheelchair Rugby star, Disability Pride Month holds deep meaning - a time to celebrate disability identity while championing inclusion and accessibility. As Shae pursues the Paris 2024 Paralympics, her spirit and advocacy for a more inclusive world continue to inspire. Read about her remarkable story and gain a perspective on navigating periods as an elite athlete.

Your life & how you’ve handled everything is so inspiring! Tell us about your story

I was the backseat passenger in a car crash when I was 18 years old which left me with a C6 incomplete spinal cord injury and unable to walk. Following the accident I spent 9 months in hospital/the spinal rehab unit recovering and learning how to live my best wheelie life.

Having your whole life change in the blink of an eye is hard, but I am lucky that I have a super supportive family that helped me through the tough times. They taught me how to be resilient and adaptable and showed me that my inability to walk wasn’t going to hold me back from chasing down my dreams and I have spent every year of my life doing just that.

After losing a bet to my brother in 2014 I started playing Wheelchair Rugby for fun. Not long after hopping in my first rugby chair, I set myself the goal of playing for Australia. It took me a lot of hard work and dedication but in 2019 I achieved that goal and became the first female to represent Australia playing Wheelchair Rugby internationally. I have achieved a lot in that time, becoming a Paralympian and a World Champion, and I am super lucky and grateful that I still get to represent my country playing a sport that I love.

What does Disability Pride Month mean to you?

Disability Pride Month is a time to celebrate us, the disabled community. It’s a time to celebrate our achievements, our differences, and the positive impact we make in society. It’s a time to promote and celebrate disability identity and it’s also a time to promote inclusion, accessibility, and equality. 

I love everything about my life and the person I have become since acquiring my injury and if given the chance I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. Disability Pride Month is a time for me to reflect and celebrate the person I am.

This month we get to share our stories and experiences with the community, we get the opportunity to educate, advocate, and promote disability pride, which will hopefully result in the creation of a safer more inclusive world.

How can others show their support & get involved?

More than 4 million Australians have a disability (almost 20 per cent of our population) and many of the barriers we face are due to society not being accessible and inclusive - it has nothing to do with our differences.

We all have a social responsibility to make the world a better place and we can do that by creating a more accessible and inclusive society- because everyone has the right to participate equally in society.

You can show your support by using this month to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of people with disabilities, learn more about and connect with the disability community and you can show your support by fighting for a more inclusive accessible world. But most importantly you can show your support by listening to our stories and lived experiences. 

Let’s talk periods! We all experience periods so differently, have you experienced any unique challenges

Not really - I think I have been lucky when it comes to my period. 

In saying that though it has been interesting trying to manage my period around my sport, especially when competing at major comps. The last thing you want is to be playing in a final with killer cramps and your emotions overwhelming you. 

I have recently started reading the book Period Power by Maisie Hill and it has been amazing learning about my menstrual cycle and how it influences my energy, mood and behaviour. I am hoping that some of the information in this book will help me better manage my period around my sport.

We all have our favourite period cramp remedies, what are your go-to’s?

My go-to remedies are a wheat pack or a hot water bottle and a Peppermint tea (which is a natural muscle relaxant) they help me out every time.

What’s next for you?

Hopefully, I’ll be at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games - I am waiting to find out if I have been selected for the Wheelchair Rugby team.


Are you up to date with your health checks?

Are you up to date with your health checks?

Explore the essential health checks you should be aware of: breast examination, cervical screening, skin assessment, and sexual health.
What You Need to Know About Menstrual Cycle Hormones

What You Need to Know About Menstrual Cycle Hormones

Learn all about menstrual cycle hormones: their functions, effects, and importance.
Why Do My Periods Sync with My Friends?

Why Do My Periods Sync with My Friends?

Every wondered about period syncing? We've got the details
Why am I getting a burning feeling on my period?

Why am I getting a burning feeling on my period?

Discover common causes and treatments for burning sensation during your period.