To help give back to the health care system that she credits with transforming her life, Ali McManus, a past patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children and a singer-songwriter, has released a new music video for Roll This Way, her sassy take on Aerosmith’s classic hit Walk This Way.
Born with a rare bone disorder, McManus has been in a wheelchair since she was 7. As she has addressed on the title track of her previous EP, Unbreakable, people tend to see the wheelchair before they see her.
Where Unbreakable laments that short-sightedness, Roll This Way knocks down the walls, breaking the stigma and revealing McManus’ feisty, vivacious nature. Roll This Way is a cheeky statement that McManus, now in her early 20s, won’t let anything stop her from having a good time and living life to the fullest.
The video also features Steven Tyler pushing Ali in her chair while singing along to Roll This Way. In fact, Ali wrote the song after her producer Jack Douglas, who worked with Aerosmith, told her the story of recording Walk This Way. Her response: “I can’t ‘walk this way,’ but I can roll this way!’”
In this new recording, with all new lyrics including her clever replacement of the phrase “just give me a kiss” to “just give me a push,” Ali serves up a new kind of fearless inspiration for those navigating disabilities.
“I am so proud of her for following her dream with determination and persistence,” said Angie Nenninger, RN, who has served as Ali’s nurse coordinator since she was 10. “I know that her music and her story will touch the lives of many young patients who are struggling to find their way. She is truly an inspiration to us all.”
In the video, Ali is hanging with her girlfriends, cruising Los Angeles in a 1969 cherry Buick convertible and taking over a roller rink while “skating” with friends. With choreography by Marisa Hamamoto, who specializes in working with dancers with disabilities, Ali dances with the other girls in scenes that promote inclusion, serving as a normalizing image of life in a chair.
Roll This Way is an anthem for embracing what makes us different, inspiring people of all backgrounds to live a life without limits. Ali encourages viewers to donate to one of two charities: Shriners Hospital for Children, where Ali received multiple surgeries (she is a Shriner's youth ambassador for the St. Louis Shriners Hospital and performs at fundraisers, as well as in the hospitals), and Janie’s Fund, a charity founded by Steven Tyler that is dedicated to assisting young girls who are victims of abuse. All Shriners Hospitals for Children donations will go to the St. Louis and Tampa hospitals. McManus also will be donating royalties from the song. As Roll This Way reflects, Ali McManus lives her truth, basking in her best life with no boundaries. As she’ll proudly tell anyone she meets, “I’m just a normal girl who happens to sit in a chair all day.”
Watch the video.