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. Ellison completed her Ph.D. in 2015 from Stony Brook University.
In November 2015, Ellison teamed up with director James Siegel to create the winning documentary “Hope Deferred”, which aims to educate the general public about embryonic stem cell research.
The Brooke Ellison Story
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.