There are inspiring stories everywhere. Stories are evermore moving when people who are physically limited or mentally limited achieve something. They teach us that we need passion to achieve things in our lives.
Here are 15 of the most inspiring differently abled people those who rose above everyone else and achieved things that most can only dream of achieving:
On this Article
- 1. Stephen Hawking – English Theoretical Physicist – ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
- 2. Helen Keller – Lecturer and Activist – Blind and Deaf
- 3. John Nash – American Mathematician – Schizophrenia
- 4. Christy Brown – Poet, Painter, Author – Cerebral Palsy
- 5. Demosthenes – Orator – Stammer
- 6. Vincent van Gogh – Painter – Mental Illness
- 7. Beethoven – Composer – Deaf
- 8. Sudha Chandran – Dancer – Amputation
- 9. Frida Kahlo – Painter – Polio
- 10. Marla Runyan – Professional Runner – Stargardt’s Disease
- 11. Stevie Wonder – Musician, Singer – Blind
- 12. Marlee Matlin – Actress – Deaf
- 13. Ralph Braun – Businessman, Founder, and CEO of Braun Corporation – Muscular Dystrophy
- 14. John Hockenberry – Journalist, Author – Spinal Cord Injury
- 15. Tanni Grey-Thompson – Wheelchair Racer, Parliamentarian, television presenter – Spina Bifida
1. Stephen Hawking – English Theoretical Physicist – ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
If you have watched Theory of Everything, then you must have already realized the heart-wrenching story of Stephen Hawking. Though suffering from ALS, he is a well—known academic professor and has won many awards, including Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of Arts, Presidential Medal of Freedom and lifetime member of Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He is a highly recognized physicist of the modern era, and has written a plethora of books and papers, including the bestseller ‘The Brief History of Time’.
2. Helen Keller – Lecturer and Activist – Blind and Deaf
Helen Keller was the first person to earn a degree of Bachelors in Arts. A political activist and American author, Keller is a co-founder of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
3. John Nash – American Mathematician – Schizophrenia
Again, if you have watched the movie The Beautiful Mind, then you probably know the day-to-day challenge Nash had to go through suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. However, even with the illness, he was constantly developing new mathematical theories, and his work on geometry and the partial differential equation are astounding still today.
4. Christy Brown – Poet, Painter, Author – Cerebral Palsy
It was only at the age of five that he Palsy was able to respond to his own will. He could, however, only move his left foot more responsively as compared to the whole body. His most recognized work is his autobiography ‘My Left Foot’.
5. Demosthenes – Orator – Stammer
Attempting suicide at the age of 11, Demosthenes went on to become one of the greatest influential speakers of all time. He used to sit on the beach for hours with pebbles in his mouth because he used to stammer. But he became an admired orator in the history.
6. Vincent van Gogh – Painter – Mental Illness
Van Gogh is probably (and arguably) the most prominent painter of all time. However, he was suffering from depression and even was hospitalized, and yet, was able to paint marvels like The Starry Night.
7. Beethoven – Composer – Deaf
A deaf composer doesn’t sound right, no? But Beethoven was that. He was guided by Mozart and studied Piano, and is known for his brilliant improvisation.
8. Sudha Chandran – Dancer – Amputation
After a horrific accident, Sudha Chandan had her right leg amputated. Yet, she continued her passion for dancing and emerged as the most influential and acclaimed classical dancer in India.
9. Frida Kahlo – Painter – Polio
Despite suffering from polio, Frida Kahlo could paint amazing self-portraits, landscapes and figments of imaginations, leading her to be the most celebrated painters in Mexico.
10. Marla Runyan – Professional Runner – Stargardt’s Disease
Marla Runyan suffered from Stargardt’s Disease at the age of nine that left her blinded for life. Still, she showed courage and won the national champion in women’s 5000m race for three times. She won prizes in several other national and international sporting events too.
11. Stevie Wonder – Musician, Singer – Blind
We don’t need anything say about Stevie Wonder. The “I just called to say I love you” singer has won 22 Grammy awards and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1996) too. He is the only two of the artists who have won Grammy for Album of the year three times as the main credited artist, along with Frank Sinatra.
12. Marlee Matlin – Actress – Deaf
Marlee Matlin is the only deaf performer to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading role for ‘Children of a Lesser God’. She became deaf due to illness and high fever when she was just 18 months old. However, that did not stop her from having a successful movie career.
13. Ralph Braun – Businessman, Founder, and CEO of Braun Corporation – Muscular Dystrophy
Ralph Braun suffered from muscular dystrophy at the age of six, and he created his own motorized wagon at the age of 15 to move around with the help of his father. He went on to create the first wheelchair accessible vehicle, then expanded his Braun Corporation. On May 2012, he was named “champion of change” by then US President Barack Obama. He also owned Braun Racing (a NASCAR racing team).
14. John Hockenberry – Journalist, Author – Spinal Cord Injury
Despite suffering from Spinal Cord injury, Hockenberry won 4 Emmy Awards and three Peabody Award. The injury did not restrict his career in journalism.
15. Tanni Grey-Thompson – Wheelchair Racer, Parliamentarian, television presenter – Spina Bifida
Tani Grey-Thompson was born with Spina Bifida and was a wheelchair user. However, that didn’t stop him from winning two Paralympic world cup medals, 16 medals (11 gold, four silver, and a bronze) and 13 World Championship medals (six gold, five silver, and two bronze).