Guyanese-heritage, Andrea Dalzell, only city wheelchair frontline hero awarded $1 million

The Dalzell family, father, Trevor, mother Sharon and siblings
Dalzell Family

Andrea Dalzell, the daughter of Guyanese-born parents Trevor and Sharon Dalzell, and the only wheelchair-bound frontline registered nurse, was recently, awarded a $1million gift from Good Morning America (GMA).

The young lady was in awe at the kind gesture, during a recent episode of Tell T.J. segment, which asks viewers to highlight someone “whose incredible story, kindness, or generosity” deserves the spotlight. 

T.J. Holmes surprised Andrea, against a backdrop that said, ‘We Love You Andrea Dalzell,’ and presented the generous gift that will go towards programs to help others, who are physically challenged.

The gift will go a long way, towards her disability advocacy work, said Andrea, during the live TV show.

The Brooklyn native, who was diagnosed at the age of five with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder that causes inflammation of the spinal cord and affects her ability to walk- through determination and hard work pursued a career in medicine, and later, became the only city worker in a wheelchair to fight the coronavirus.

“At five years old, the “bouncy” and “vivacious” Andrea was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder that causes inflammation of the spinal cord and affects her ability to walk, said her mother,” Sharon Dalzell.

The young lady who exudes confidence and grace, despite being differently-abled, said “I want to start a whole program for people with disabilities to help them get into health care. They should be given a chance.” 

According to the broadcast, her parents said at first they thought the disorder was a “minor mishap” but then were devastated to learn that their oldest child would be wheelchair-bound.

“I think I went completely numb. I blamed myself. I thought I didn’t do something right,” said Sharon Dalzell, Andrea’s mother. “I thought there was something I could have done different that could have allowed her to walk.” 

“I stood outside the door and, I promised myself I wouldn’t do this, but I’ve never allowed her to see me cry. That was the most important thing for me. I became the child and she became the mother,” Sharon Dalzell said.

Andrea, who excelled in life, graduating with honors receiving many awards along the way, for her advocacy work and leadership, including the Cindy Loo Disability Rights Advocate Award in 2015, said, “people with disabilities aren’t living a death sentence, they’re living life.”

Her commitment to succeed brought her to a career as a registered nurse in 2018, when she earned her bachelor’s degree.

This brave young woman is full of life, confidence, and has the will to give back, never giving up during the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, instead, taking charge to become one of the most invaluable frontline workers.

There are no limitations on her life, as she continues to press on as a nurse and department head for a local school, according to the ABC report.

“She’s not only extraordinarily professional and smart and good at what she does, but also very approachable and the kids absolutely love her,” said Kim Busi, founder and head of The Quad Preparatory School, a K-12 college preparatory school in New York that serves neurodiverse twice-exceptional students — and where Andrea Dazell serves as its school nurse.

The inspiring young lady who is the city’s only RN in a wheelchair is working to ensure others like her, full-fill their dreams, in medicine.

She believes the health care industry needs to help more workers who are physically challenged, in order for them to help patients in similar situations.

Her mother explained that patients with disabilities face obstacles when receiving care, adding.

“You go into a doctor’s office, you can’t get up on the table. Many times, I had to lift her,” she said.

Andrea said wants to give back to people. “So many people were put into my life, that if I can give just a little bit of that back, then I’ve done everything that I’m supposed to do in the world,” she shared.

The unrestricted $1 million donation was a part of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Visionary Prize, which is “meant to draw attention to and celebrate passionate individuals advancing the world of the spinal cord injury field, according to GMA.The Caribbean community applauds Andrea Dalzell for her outstanding, heartfelt, contributions.