Famous disabled persons have continuously been an inspiration to more than one billion people living with a form of disability all over the world.
Living with a disability can be difficult especially for those with acquired disabilities. The adaption and adjustment process can be excruciating and you would have a lot of emotions going through you with flashbacks to the time when you able-bodied.
However, famous disabled persons have proven that living with a disability is nothing to be ashamed of. You can either let it stop you from achieving your goals or accept it, adapt to it and forge ahead.
Presently, people with disabilities are getting more attention and given more privileges. There are several important and famous disabled persons in sports, politics, education and the entertainment industry, but we are only going to talk about the ones who remain an inspiration to people with disabilities all over the world.
In this article, we are going to look at some very important famous disabled persons who continue to inspire people with disabilities all over the world to accept their disability and live their lives to the fullest.
1. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is considered as one of the best-paid actors which make him a very successful individual. What most people don’t know is that the famous actor has a disability that should have been a big obstacle to his acting career.
During his childhood, Cruise was diagnosed with severe dyslexia – a learning disability. Cruise recounts that he would feel exhausted while trying to learn and had little memory of what he reads.
According to Cruise, he trained himself to focus his attention and used several strategies like “Study Technology” to make sure his disability doesn’t stop him from being an actor.
Today he is considered as one of the most successful actors with his movies grossing over $3.9 billion in North America.
Tom Cruise is an inspiration to those with invisible disabilities. He established the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (H.E.L.P) which aims to provide millions of people in the world with access to “Study Technology”.
2. Stevie Wonder
From being born blind to being one of the most successful musicians of the 20th century, Stevie Wonder remains an inspiration to everyone with a disability. Wonder was able to accept and grow up with his disability and focused on music at an early age.
Stevie Wonder is one of the main inspirations for people with disabilities because his success story began at a young age. The fact that he was blind didn’t stop him from learning various musical instruments and forming a singing group.
His resilience paved the way to his success as he became the youngest artist to ever top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at the age of 13.
3. Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking is one of the inspiration minds with an acquired disability. Hawking was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease at the age of 21 and according to his doctors, he wasn’t to live more than 2 or 3 years. Hawking’s disability led to the paralysis of several of his body parts until he was completely paralyzed in 2009.
However, his disability didn’t stop him from becoming a Professor in Gravitational Physics. He is considered to be one of the brilliant minds during his time and a vigorous fighter as he found several ways to learn and teach people even when he began to lose control over his arms, legs, and voice.
Hawking is an inspiration to those with physical disabilities and considered to be one of the most important persons who overcame their disability.
4. Helen Keller
Helen Keller’s achievements have continued to inspire people with disabilities all over the world. She was barely 2 years old when she contracted a disease that left her blind and deaf. However, her disability didn’t stop her from earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, thus becoming the first deaf-blind person to do so.
Keller was actively involved in politics with other career paths in writing and teaching. While most people with disabilities would find it hard to live a normal life, Keller went on to achieve a feat most people would have considered impossible.
She was a popular advocate for people with disabilities and went ahead to establish the Helen Keller International (HKI) organization to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition.
5. Arunima Sinha
Arunima Sinha is one of the few persons that can convince anyone that being born with or acquiring a disability doesn’t make you a lesser person. Sinha had always had the dream of climbing the highest peaks in various continents and the world but after she lost her left leg in an incident, it seemed she would never fulfill her dreams.
With the help of a prosthetic leg, Sinha was able to become the first amputee to climb Mount Everest, she went ahead to conquer other continent peaks including Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Mount Elbrus in Europe, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina and many more.
She went ahead to become the first amputee to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica. Sinha has continually inspired people with disabilities to not allow their disabilities to define them. She is considered to be one of the famous and inspirational persons living with disabilities in the world.
6. Bharat Kumar
If you are a world champion with over 50 medals, two international titles and over 40 national level medals, you would be considered successful. However, if you are able to achieve such a feat with a disability, you would be considered something more than an inspiration. That is the story o Bharat Kumar, a Para swimmer that was born with only his right hand.
Kamar is considered as an inspiration for people with disabilities who wish to go into sports. Rather than living in regret, you should be able to live your dreams without letting your disability hinder you. Kamar comes from a humble family, however, his continuous strive for success led him to the stage he is on today.
7. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Roosevelt wasn’t just one of the presidents of the United States, he is regarded as one of the most important figures in American history. While most people would think of him as one of the greatest U.S presidents, many do not know that Roosevelt had a disability that made him unable to walk unaided. Not deterred by his disability, he went on to win four presidential elections in the US.
Roosevelt was able to make various important achievements which are why he is placed in the ranks of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
From implementing legislation that brought the U.S out of the Great Depression to ensuring the U.S economy stayed stable during World War II, Roosevelt achievements should inspire all wheelchair users and every other person with a disability. Roosevelt is not only an inspiration to people with disabilities but also to able-bodied people.
8. RJ Mitte
If you were a fan of the AMC series Breaking Bad, then you should know about RJ Mitte who portrayed the character of the cerebral palsy-stricken son of Walter White.
Mitte’s performance on the show was good enough to earn him an award and if you are wondering where he got the inspiration to make such a professional performance, then you should know that he has cerebral palsy himself.
Mitte can be considered as one of the inspirational persons with disabilities who were able to achieve more with their disability. Mitte was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three and had to walk with leg braces and crutches throughout most of his childhood.
He became responsible for his family at a young age even with his disability and continued to build his acting career. From being an extra in the Disney series Hannah Montana to playing the role of Walter White Jr in the AMC series Breaking Bad, Mitte remains an inspiration for people with disabilities all over the world.
9. Stephen Wiltshire
Being born with autism could make anyone build a wall around them especially if you are from a humble background. However, the story of Stephen Wiltshire talks about an individual who was able to use his talent, resilience, and determination to achieve his goals.
Wiltshire is best known for his artistic illustrations of important structures all over the world. While most artists could produce Wiltshire’s illustrations, his works remain unique as he would draw from memory.
Wiltshire is able to draw cities, buildings, and structures after gazing at them for several minutes. His drawings include illustrations of New York City, Dubai, Rome, Hong Kong, Madrid, Dubai, Frankfurt, London, Jerusalem, and Tokyo. His illustration of Toyko remains his longer ever panoramic memory drawing.
10. Peter Longstaff
Peter Longstaff is considered as an inspiration by many individuals with disabilities and unlike most famous disabled people, his physical disability is more pronounced. Unlike, Wiltshire has his hands and arms to produce the astounding illustrations of cities, but Longstaff has nothing but his right foot.
Longstaff was born without the use of arms due to complications from the drug, Thalidomide. The drug was introduced as a remedy for morning sickness for pregnant women, however, it led to severe birth defects.
Longstaff does more than draw with his right foot. According to him, he considers his right foot just the same way able-people take their right hand and uses it to perform everyday tasks. His works have been reprinted on calendar and Christmas cards and are considered one of the best among artists with disabilities.
If you think your disability stops you from taking a step forward, then you need to think like Longstaff who uses what he has to achieve his dreams.
11. Stella Young
Stella Young was confined to a wheelchair for most of her life but that didn’t stop her from becoming one a top journalist and comedian. Young was born with osteogenesis imperfecta which resulted in her short height.
Not deterred by her deformity, She went on to acquire several degrees before kicking off her journalism career with Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s online magazine Ramp Up. Young was able to inspire other people with disabilities through TV programs she hosted.
Her career as a comedian officially took off in 2014 when she performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. She is famously known for her 2014 TeDxSyndey talk where she asked able-bodied people not to look at people with disabilities as an inspiration just because they are able to get by with their disability.
12. Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is the second famous disabled person in politics in our list and just like Franklin D. Roosevelt, he was one of the most important figures in his country during his time in office. Brown served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010 and at the time he was visually impaired.
An incident at a very young age left him completely blind in his left eye, however, he still went to acquire several degrees from the University of Edinburgh and kicked off a political career that saw him serve in several top positions in the UK before becoming the Prime Minister.
He has received several honorary degrees and awards for his contribution to the UK and remains an inspiration for people with disabilities all over the world.
13. John Nash
Regarded as one of America’s greatest mathematicians whose theories are constantly used in Economics, John Nash serves as an inspiration to people with mental disabilities.
Nash began showing signs of mental illness at the age of 31 which halted his academic work and made him a regular visitor to several psychiatric hospitals for over 10 years.
Nash once stated that he stopped taking prescribed drugs because he did not believe they did justice to his mental illness. Nash sought other ways to recover and he was able to succeed and thereafter built a successful academic career that earned him awards like the Noble Prize in Economics and the Abel Prize.
His struggle with schizophrenia was later depicted in the 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind”.
14. Nick Vujicic
Nick Vujicic is considered a celebrity and one of the most famous disabled people in the world. Vujicic was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a condition that is characterized by the absence of limbs. During his birth, his mother refused to see or see him due to the condition, however, she later accepted him.
Vujicic is able to perform several tasks with two small, deformed feet. He considers the toes on his foot the same as able-bodied people consider the fingers on their hands. Living with a disability was tough for Vijucic and he had attempted suicide at a younger age.
During his teenage and young adult years, he was continuously bullied but that didn’t deter him from getting a degree and two majors.
Vijucic founded Life Without Limbs – a non-profit organization that inspires people with disabilities all over the world. He is considered a motivational speaker and Christian evangelist as he hosts various event to draw people closer to Christ and encourage them to achieve their goals regardless of their disability.
For someone without limbs, Vijucic has been able to succeed where most fail. He is currently married with four children.
15. Andrea Bocelli
Just like Steve Wonder, Andrea Bocelli is one of the important and famous disabled persons in music. The Italian perform has sold more than 90 million records worldwide and is said to have the best singing voice in the music industry.
Before Andrea Bocelli was born, the doctor had advised his parents to abort him as they predicted that he would be born with a disability. At birth, Bocelli had problems with his sight and eventually became completely blind at the age of 12 following an unfortunate accident.
Before he went blind, he had shown interest in learning to play the piano but took to singing after he lost his sight. Bocelli unique angelic voice paved way for him to become successful in the musical industry and thus made him one of the most successful musicians of all times.
Although he is already 60, Bocelli continues to perform and produce records. He remains an inspiration to not only individuals that were born blind or acquired the disability but also to those with other forms of disabilities.
From being deaf to being in a wheelchair, having a disability will certainly change the life of any individual. If you find it difficult to adapt to your life as a disabled person, then you can take a cue from any these famous persons who not only overcame their disabilities but became more successful than many able-bodied persons around them.
That wraps up this piece of famous disabled persons that overcame their disability and inspire people with disabilities all over the world. In the article, you can find famous disabled people in sports, politics, education, and every other works of life.
Do you know any important and famous disabled person that should be on this list?