This photo of University of Montana senior Gabrielle Broere has been viewed over 1 million times, and for good reason.
Broere was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that causes physical disability, when she was just 1 year old. With crutches, Broere is able to walk short distances, but according to The Montana Kaimin, she often uses a wheelchair to get around.
Although her disability poses challenges each day, she didn’t let it stop her from missing out on important experiences in her life, like studying abroad in Greece.
“I wasn’t really sure how people were going to react to me and how helpful they would be and if I was going to get left behind,” she tells Montana Kaimin. Broere had previously been to Peru for a 10-day trip, and knew how difficult it can be to access historical sites as a disabled person.
When she visited the Aegean Sea, Broere was unable to push her wheelchair through the sand. And, without shoes and leg braces, her feet would have been unable to bear the necessary weight. So her friends decided to picked her up and carry her across the rocky beach so that she could experience the sea. One of them snapped the inspiring photo above.
Broere describes the experience as “surreal,” saying, “I was in complete awe of where I was and what was happening.” . . .