We have witnessed some of the most outstanding achievements in history, by men and women; however, the accomplishments are beyond outstanding when achieved by those with an apparent physical disability.
In an era where it is highly challenging even for an ordinary person to attain success, these individuals prove that it only requires courage, passion, and determination for one to be successful.
Here are some of such most successful and truly inspirational people.
The physicist – often compared to scientists like Einstein and Galileo – Stephen Hawking is famous amongst scientists and non-scientist groups. He was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a rare neurological disease that would continue to grow as he ages.
Presently, he is the director of research at the Centre For Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, where he is well acclaimed for his work in the field of cosmology. He is also an author of the book, A brief history of Time which has been a bestseller for a long. He also provides constant motivation through his guest appearances on popular TV shows like Star Trek and The Simpsons.
An American journalist with a spinal cord injury, John Hockenberry, is among the most successful journalists in the world. He is a four-time Emmy Award winner and a three-time Peabody Award winner. In the late 1990s, while working for dateline, he surprised his audiences by appearing in a wheelchair publicly for the first time on an American network.
He has written dozens of magazine and newspaper articles, a play, and two books, including the bestselling memoir Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the novel A River Out Of Eden. He has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Wired, The Columbia Journalism Review, Metropolis, and The Washington Post.
The founder of Braun Corporation, Ralph Braun, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when he was six. Braun Corporation provides commercial wheelchair and accessible vehicles and other equipment for individuals with disabilities. Braun created a motorized scooter at the age of 20 to help him move around without any difficulties or support.
He also created the first wheelchair-accessible van equipped with a platform. He started his firm, Braun Corporation, known as Save the Step initially, which focused on building moving vehicles accessible by wheelchairs.
Through his innovations and creative thinking, he revolutionized the mobility of people with disabilities. He not only is one of the successful people with disabilities, but he also happens to be the one who innovated to help such differently-abled people. Braun was named a “champion of change” in 2012 by the US government.
One of the most powerful people with a disability to hold public office since FDR, Lenin Moreno, served as the Vice President of Ecuador from 2007 to 2013, making history and bringing attention to the needs of the disabled people in his country in the process. He was injured in a shooting before getting involved in politics.
Thanks to his work in providing for the needs of people with disabilities in his country, when he was Vice President, Lenin was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
He wrote many books on the theory of humour like ‘FilosofÃa para la Vida y el Trabajo’ (Philosophy for life and work), ‘TeorÃa y PrÃ¡ctica del Humor’ (Theory and Practice of Comedy), ‘Ser Feliz es FÃ¡cil y Divertido’ (Being Happy is Easy and Fun), ‘Los Mejores Chistes del Mundo’ (World’s Best Jokes), ‘Humor de Los Famosos’ (Humor of the Famous).
At nine, Runyan developed Stargardt’s Disease, a form of macular degeneration that left her blind. Being the first legally blind American to compete in the Olympics, Marla Runyan demonstrates signs of heroism for many people who are visually impaired. She is a three-time national champion in the women’s 5000 meters.
She won four gold medals in the 1992 summer Paralympics. In the 1996 Paralympics, she won silver in the shot put and gold in the Pentathlon. In 2000 she became the first legally blind Paralympian to compete in the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
She holds various American records such as 20,000 Road (2003), All-female Marathon (2002), 500m (2001), and Heptathlon (1996). In 2001, she co-wrote and published her autobiography ‘No Finish Line: My Life As I See It.
She is a truly inspiring American professional surfer who survived a 2003 shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off. She ultimately returned to – and has been victorious in – professional surfing. Bethany Hamilton has appeared as a guest on numerous television shows since her attack.
She wrote her experience in the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board. There was a movie made about her named Soul Surfer in April 2011. In 2004, she won the ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete and also received the Courage Teen Choice Award. She was awarded NSSA National Helping Kids Champion in 2005 and 2nd place in ASP World Junior Championships in 2008.
Indeed, there are much more such unsaid and uncovered tales of success. These captivating personalities prove that it takes more than courage to face the adversities to be victorious. These incredible stories make one ponder if they can, why can’t we?