Disability affects every living being on this planet. Also, there is no place in the world that is safe for people who has a disability. But we also have hundreds of famous disabled persons who have it and achieved things that a lot of us couldn’t. In this article, we will talk about famous disabled persons in the world who have inspired us immensely.
4 famous disabled persons
#1 Helen Keller (27 June 1880 – 01 June 1968)
Hellen Keller is one of the finest examples of disabled people in the world. She was an author, political activist, lecturer, and advocate for disability rights.
When she was only 19 months old, she had an illness that doctors couldn’t recognize. The doctors described the illness as an acute congestion of the brain and eye. This illness left Keller both blind and deaf.
However, being deaf and blind in May 1888, she attended the Perkins Institute for blind people. Later in 1894, Keller with her teacher Sullivan moved to New York City, where she attended Wright Humason School for the Deaf. Also, she learned from Sarah Fuller, a teacher at Horace Mann School for the Deaf.
Furthermore, in 1896, both went to Massachusetts, and Keller attended the Cambridge School for Young Ladies. After graduating from school, she went to Radcliffe College, which was under Harvard University. During this time, she lived at Briggs Hall at South House.
In 1904, when Keller was 24, she graduated as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa from her college and became the first blind and deaf person who got their Bachelor’s Degree in Arts.
Moreover, her autobiography, The Story of My Life, is one of the classic books in English literature. Also, she has campaigned for women’s suffrage, antimilitarism, socialism, labor rights, and various other social issues.
#2 Stephen Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018)
Stephen William Hawking was a cosmologist, theoretical physicist, and author. At the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge University, he was the director of research. He also was the Lucasian Professor for Mathematics at Cambridge University from 1979 till 2009.
Before diagnosing ALS, he experienced clumsiness, such as falling from stairs or growing properly. It worsened gradually, and he couldn’t even speak clearly.
Furthermore, in 1963 Hawking had an early onset and slow processing neurine disease known as Lou Gehrig’s illness or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was only 21 years old, and the doctors informed him he would live for two more years.
Also, in the late 1960s, his physical abilities deteriorated even more, and he started to use crutches and could not give lectures at his university every day. Slowly, he couldn’t write and had compensatory visual methods.
In 1979, he became the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a significant position once held by Isaac Newton. He was in this position till 2009.
Furthermore, in 1985 Hawing had severe pneumonia. He survived after hospital treatment, but he lost the ability to speak.
However, he communicated through an electronic voice synthesizer from the following year, which gave him his famous robotic voice.
In 1988, he published his book called “A Brief History of Time,” which was a book on cosmology, and the book became one of the best sellers at that time.
#3 Franklin D. Roosevelt (30 January 1882 – 12 April 1945)
Franklin D. Roosevelt, better known as FDR, is one of the famous disabled persons who were the 32nd President of the USA. He served as the United States President from 1933 – 1945. Moreover, he had a huge effect on the USA as FDR successfully led the country through World War II and Great Depression.
In August 1921, FDR discovered suffering from polio. For some time, he was completely paralyzed, but he did fight to use his legs again.
Moreover, after a few years, FDR’s legs were enclosed in braces and made him walk slowly. Most of the time, he used a cane or with the help of someone else.
Furthermore, on 6th November 1928, he ran as the governor of New York (Democratic ticket). He did win this election, and he got more than 25,000 votes.
Moreover, the Great Depression began in 1929 when FDR was the governor. During the first term, he mainly focused on having inexpensive public services for the general people and reduced the taxes for the farmers. This led him to get re-elected in 1930, and he served as a governor till 1933.
On March 4, 1933, Roosevelt was appointed as the president of the United States and took immediate action for redeveloping the country’s economic condition.
Also, during World War II, Japan destroyed almost the US Pacific fleet and many airplanes, which killed more than 2,000 military staff and civilians.
But, FDR took a quick decision, and the very next day, the USA declared war against Japan, and the USA officially entered World War II.
Additionally, he founded the “National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis” which leads to the development of polio vaccines. Later it was renamed as “March of Dimes.”
#4 John Nash (June 13, 1928 – May 23, 2015)
Another famous disabled person, John Forbes Nash Jr., was a mathematician who had made fundamental contributions such as partial differential equations, differential geometry, and game theory.
In 1959, he started to show signs of mental illness, and he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. In the same year, he spent many years at a psychiatric hospital to get treated.
After getting treatment for more than 10 years, his condition gradually improved, which allowed him to work again from the mid-80s.
Furthermore, in 1994 Nash received Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences due to his game theory. Later he has worked in advanced game theory, which included partial agency. From the year 1945 till 1996, he had released 23 scientific studies.
Also, on May 19, 2015, he was awarded the Abel Prize at an event in Oslo by King Harald V from Norway. Moreover, he is the only person who has received both the Nobel Prize and Abel Prize to this date.
Later, Sylvia Nasar wrote a biography about Nash called “A Beautiful Mind.”
Famous disabled persons in India
#1 Sudha Chandran
When we talk about famous disabled persons from India, Sudha Chandran’s name comes first to our mind. She is a classical dancer and Indian actress who was born in Kerala.
When she was 16, she met with an accident. The doctors were careless while treating her and missed a wound on her ankle instead plastered that area. But, later, infection led to leg amputation.
However, this did not stop her, and she put on a prosthetic leg called “Jaipur Foot.” She later became one of India’s popular classical dancers.
She even performed classical dance, Bharatnatyam, on an international stage. Also, she starred in a Telegu film called Mayuri, based on her life. Later the film was dubbed in Malayalam and Tamil.
Moreover, the film was also remade in Bollywood, where she played herself again. The film was called Naache Maayuri.
In 1986, at National Film Awards, she received Special Jury Award for the film Mayuri.
#2 H Ramakrishnan
When we are talking about famous disabled persons, Ramakrishnan is another person who comes on our mind. He had polio when he was two and a half years old. Due to this, he was denied regular school admission. He did not get through several jobs even after clearing UPSC.
Despite all this, he worked as a reporter for more than 40 years. Over 40 years, he has worked in All India Radio, Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, Press Information Bureau, and Doordarshan. Currently, he is the CEO of the SS Music TV channel.
Furthermore, he is a musician and plays few instruments. He first learned Mridangam from Subramaniam Pillai, and currently, his teacher is Karaikudi Mani. Also, he can play Kanjira and is an expert in Konakol.
Besides, he runs a charity called Krupa, which helps specially-abled people.
#3 Arunima Sinha
In 2011, Arunima Sinha was pushed out from a moving train when she was resisting few robbers. Due to this accident, her left leg had been amputated from her knee. Also, she got various fractures and injuries in her spinal cord and got a rod on her other leg.
Two years after this incident, she climbed Mount Everest and became the first disabled woman who did it. Later she stated that she did not like how people pitied her due to her disability. She wanted to prove that she was strong despite her disability.
Furthermore, she started her training as a mountain climber and has been training at Kathmandu. On May 21, 2013, she finally achieved her dream of climbing Mt. Everest. Also, her goal is to climb the highest peak of every continent and lift India’s flag.
In 2014, she did Seven Summits in Asia, Elbrus in Europe, Aconcagua in Argentina, Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, and Kosciuszko in Australia.
The last one in Antarctica was Mount Vinson which she climbed on January 1, 2019. Moreover, in 2015, the Indian government honored Sinha with Padma Shri Award.
Famous disabled persons in sports
#1 Girish Sharma
Girish Sharma was a kid when he lost one of his legs in a train accident. However, this did not stop him, and he becomes a badminton champion.
His one leg is so strong that he effortlessly plays it and covers the court entirely. Since he was a kid, he always participated in outdoor activities and would not let his disability come in any way.
Furthermore, he has won at Para-Olympic Asia Cup he has won Gold Medals for both single and double badminton.
Despite winning gold and various other tournaments, the State or the Indian government won’t sponsor him for any championships or tournaments held in different countries.
#2 Esther Vergeer
One of the famous disabled persons is Esther Vergeer, who has been playing professional sports for years. Vergeer was born on July 18, 1981, in the Netherlands. However, when she was six, she had an illness that made her paralyzed since March 1990.
Furthermore, she started playing wheelchair tennis when she was at therapy and become a pro by 1995.
During her career, she has won 7 Para-Olympics medals, 23 championships, and 48 Grand Slams. Moreover, she becomes the number one player from the year 1999 till her retirement. She was also undefeated from 2003 till her retirement in 2013. In total, she has won 470 matches.
#3 Kyle Maynard
Maynard is a martial art athlete, author, and American speaker. Since he was born, he had a rare disease called congenital amputation, where he could not develop any of his limbs.
However, this did not stop him as he went to play for the youth football league. At the age of 11, Maynard played for Collins Hill National Eagles as a nose tackle.
Furthermore, he went to Georgia University and was in the wrestling club. But he left it to pursue his career as a motivational speaker and promote his books.
He started working at Washington Speaker’s Bureau, as he specialized in motivational speaking.
Also, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro without using any prosthetics and become the first quadruplex amputee who climbed this mountain.
Recently he founded a gym called No Excuses Crossfit.
#4 Melissa Stockwell
Stockwell is an American swimmer who has participated in Para-Olympics for swimming, long-distance running, and cycling.
For swimming, she participated in 100 m freestyle, 400 m freestyle, and 100 m butterfly. She even won Bronze Medal at the 2016 Para-Olympics on September 11, 2016.
Furthermore, she has won multiple Paratriathlon Championship. In the year 2010, she got the name “USAT Paratriathlete of the Year.”
Now she is a Level 1 USAT coach and also the co-founder of the Dare2Tri. It is a triathlon club in Chicago that is for people who have a disability.
All these famous disabled persons proved that their disability did not stop them from achieving what they wanted to do in their lives. Furthermore, many idolized them for their courage and how determined they were to reach their goal.