Student Gabrielle Broere's Viral Study Abroad Photo Has Over 1 Million Views, And It's Seriously Inspiring
A study abroad photo has gone viral — already viewed over one million times — but not for the usual reasons. No beaming memorial selfies, beached hot dog legs, or celebrity photobombs can be found here; instead, the image shows University of Montana senior Gabrielle Broere being carried to the Aegean Sea by her friends on her study abroad in Greece, and it’s enough to erase every other viral image in your mind’s recent history. Broere was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, limiting the mobility we frequently take for granted. Unable to push herself through the sand in her wheelchair or use her braces to reach the water, her friends carried her to the sea's edge so she could dip her toes in the water.
Forget the usual hurdles of language barriers and unfamiliar territory; Broere is able to navigate short distances in with her crutches, but longer distances must be navigated with a wheelchair. However undeterred, Broere embarked on the semester abroad anyway, helped in part by her classmates and friends in the program. “It was surreal,” Broere told The Montana Kaimin of the experience. “I was in complete awe of where I was and what was happening.” And since her photo has gone viral, Broere has received her fair share of supporters (as well as critics, but she cares very little for their “ignorance”).
“It sucks getting around and it’s hard, but I can do it,” she tells The Montana Kaimin. “I’ve been through a lot now, and I’ll continue going through that the rest of my life. I can’t let anything hold me back. I would love to go to France and Italy next.”
Gabrielle Broere is our hero.