Overcoming the Odds: Inspirational Stories of People with Disabilities


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Overcoming the Odds: Inspirational Stories of People with Disabilities


It’s a tough life to live, but people with disabilities have it tougher. But despite that, they are more than capable to do extraordinary things and have inspiring stories to tell. Aside from overcoming obstacles, their stories will also motivate you to work on yourself and not let anything hinder you from achieving your dreams. 

Here is the list of people with disabilities, overcoming the odds, and living life to the fullest! 

Frida Kahlo

During her childhood, Frida Kahlo suffered from polio, and according to some sources, also had spina bifida, a condition when a baby’s spine and spinal cord were not properly developed in the womb. When she reached her adolescence, she was also involved in an accident that worsens her spinal problems. 

Throughout her entire left, she was facing serious physical issues and was bedridden because of severe pain. However, she didn’t let that hinder her, and off she became one of the famous artists of the 20th century. 

John Nash

John Nash had acute paranoid schizophrenia, a condition that blurs the line between what is real and what isn’t, including delusions and hallucinations. His life story was given light due to the movie  “A Beautiful Mind“. John Nash was aware of his illness but fought against it, not letting it tear him, and developed a successful academic career. He won a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. 

Stephen Hawking

At the age of 21, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ASL, a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which eventually causes loss of muscle control. Hawking was given 2 years to live, he broke that record and lived until he was 76. 

For more than 30 years, he had been paralyzed from head to toe. To communicate, he used a voice synthesizer and a wheelchair which he can operate through the slight movements of his head and eyes. 

Despite these struggles, he became an excellent researching and professor. He was a theoretical physicist, astrophysicist, cosmologist, and eminent scientist. 

His life story was told in the film “The Theory of Everything“, shedding light to his illness to the world. 

Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic was born in 1982 without limbs. As a child, he suffered from mockery and discrimination. He tried to commit suicide, but eventually, he realized his own potential. 

He founded Life Without Limbs, an organization for people with physical disabilities. He travels around the world to give motivational talks, has written several books, and is regularly seen on TV shows. He became well-known when he starred in the touching short film “The Butterfly Circus“.

Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli was born with congenital glaucoma. He was partially blind but that didn’t stop him from taking piano lessons until he was 6 years old. 

Unfortunately, when he was 12 years old, he suffered a blow during a football game that completely blinded him. His blindness didn’t stop him from pursuing and focusing on music and singing. He also studied Law. 

He is internationally known and has received numerous awards. 

Alex Zanardi

After years of being a regular competitor in F1, Alex Zanardi suffered an accident in 2001 that resulted in both of his legs being amputated. Low and behold, three years later, he was back in the game, with prostheses and driving a BMW. 

Despite missing both legs, Alex Zanardi went on to win four World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) victories. However, in 2007, he shifts courses and decided to focus on adapted cycling. 

He designed the tricycles himself and has won three Paralympic golds. 

Aaron Fotheringham

When Aaron Fotheringham was a child, he underwent several failed hip operations. This resulted in him having to permanently use a wheelchair. However, he persevered and continued to practice a sport he was passionate about. 

Now, he is a famous skater in the field of wheelchair skating. In 2005, he landed a jump with a 180º turn and the following year, became the first person to land a somersault in a wheelchair. 

Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton, at a tender age of 13 years old, was a rising star surfer. However, after an attack with a 14-foot tiger shark, she, unfortunately, lost her left arm. This didn’t stop Bethany. 

One month after the attack, she was back on the seas and surfing to her dreams once again. Within two years, she won her first national surfing title. When she was 17, she recognized the need to fulfill her dream to professionally surf. 

She is still an active surf competitor to this day. She continues to inspire people as a professional surfer, author, and motivational speaker. 


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