Vanessa Sapien - Actor and Spina Bifida Advocate Joins SBA of CA

The Spina Bifida Association of California welcomes Vanessa Sapien to our California Advisory Committee as our Young Ambassador. At 24 years old, Vanessa does not allow Spina Bifida or her wheelchair to confine her setting in achieving her life goals. From a young age, Vanessa began acting in commercials, PSAs, and television shows. Most recently, Vanessa played a college student who was paralyzed from the waist down by a shooter in the NBC hit television drama, “Harry’s Law.” (Episode 208, “Insanity,” air date November 16, 2011). On the stand in her wheelchair, Vanessa gave her testimony as to what had occurred during the shooting. Through her acting career, Vanessa is an advocate for access and inclusion of the disabled in media, portraying realistic and uplifting stories.

“What people tell me is a disadvantage is actually an advantage,” says Vanessa. “There is so much that I can do. Attitude is the real disability.”

In January 2011, Vanessa graduated from the University of LaVerne with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She works as a parent liaison at a local family resource center. She is also a public speaker, talking with parents and children about living with Spina Bifida and facing adversity. Vanessa generates warmth and good will wherever she goes! We are very pleased and honored that she is our Young Ambassador for SBA of CA and will be a part of the first ever Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida in Orange County, as well as our Chapter as a whole.

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