Famous people with disabilities: Inspiration for change

When famous people with disabilities are discussed, the focus is usually on their accomplishments. Fewer famous people talk about their disability and how it has helped them in overcoming challenges. This article will cover famous disabled people who have made an impact in the world by sharing both their success stories and struggles they’ve faced.

People with disabilities can accomplish great things.

It is important to recognize famous people who have overcome their disability and achieved greatness in fields such as sports, politics, science and art. This article will highlight famous people with disabilities from different backgrounds for all readers to draw inspiration from when considering how they might achieve their own dreams despite any challenges that may be faced along the way.

Famous disabled people do great things in the world of business, entertainment and sports. Despite any disability there is so much that can be done if one sets themselves to it!

Stephen Hawking

Renowned British physicist and author of A Brief History of Time was diagnosed at age 21 with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a motor neuron disease which eventually confined him to a wheelchair and made it difficult for him to speak or breathe on his own. Hawking has served as Lucasian of Mathematics at Cambridge University since 1979, a post once held by Sir Isaac Newton. Hawking has authored over 15 books and, among other awards, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

British theoretical physicist famous for being an international authority on general relativity and cosmology – especially black holes, where he has made public pronouncements that there might be no boundary (or „edge”) beyond which things can’t continue – a theory known as The No Boundary Proposal. Despite suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis since 1963 that has progressed over time causing him to become completely paralyzed aside from two fingers on each hand, he was able to write books about science using technology including voice synthesis software while communicating with others primarily through eye movements even though it’s been reported by those who have seen him that he remained surprisingly positive despite his condition.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Served as President from 1933 to 1945 before going on to win an unprecedented four terms in office. He led America through both great depression and World War II which helped pull many people out of poverty who had been suffering with nothing but starvation for years beforehand during The Great Depression era. Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio at age 39 in 1921, causing him his famous leg braces (which made it difficult for him to walk) that would help influence changes in building standards throughout New York City after construction workers refused to work when they learned the President could not climb up a ladder without assistance.

Terry Fox

Canadian athlete and amputee famous for running an entire cross-country marathon on one leg after having his left leg amputated as a result of osteosarcoma cancer. He was first diagnosed with the disease back in 1977 at age 18, but continued to play sports despite being told he wouldn’t be able to walk again just two years later when the cancer came back stronger than ever before due to chemotherapy treatments that weakened his bones. In 1980, Terry started what would become known as „The Marathon of Hope” where he ran from St. John’s, Newfoundland eastward across Canada – hoping not only to raise money for cancer research for people like himself who been affected by it – but also prove that people with disabilities could still achieve greatness despite the odds.

Jack Nicklaus

American professional golfer famous for winning a record 18 major championships during his career, including six Masters Tournaments and three PGA Championships – becoming one of only five golfers to have won all four majors in their respective careers (the others being Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Tiger Woods). However, it was not until age 26 when he learned he had symptoms of spinal stenosis which caused him to rely on an unusual putting style called „The croquet stroke” most notably at the 1978 Open Championship. He eventually underwent surgery where two vertebrae were fused together – but returned less than one year later as strong as ever before to win six more majors.

Jim Abbott

American professional baseball pitcher famous for being the only one-handed player in major league history, throwing a no hitter game in 1993 while playing with the New York Yankees and pitching a gold medal winning performance at the 1988 Olympics where he was given an honorary bronze medal by President Ronald Reagan after it became clear he would not be allowed to compete due to his disability. He had been born without part of his right hand as a result of amniotic band syndrome when doctors tried unsuccessfully to save him from life-threatening conditions when they were forced to choose between delivering either himself or his mother during childbirth. However, this did not stop him from becoming a dominant collegiate athlete who won Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Year honors and became the fourth player in history to throw a touchdown pass as well as score one during his college football career.

Famous American professional baseball pitcher born without his right hand famous for pitching a no hitter game in 1993 while playing with the New York Yankees and throwing a gold medal winning performance at the 1988 Olympics where he was given an honorary bronze medal by President Ronald Reagan after it became clear he would not be allowed to compete due to his disability. Despite this, Jim achieved many other things that could never have been done before including pitching one handed against Indians reliever Steve Olin who had come into the game specifically because of him (and ended up giving up three runs during five pitches). He went on to play for six more seasons following this – even though there were people like manager Joe Torre saying they didn’t want him around anymore afterwards because they didn’t believe he was good for the clubhouse.

Michael J Fox

Canadian actor famous for playing Alex P Keaton on the highly popular sitcom Family Ties who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 at age 29, but continued to work while finding out about it after having raised over $200 million dollars towards research since then by participating in an experimental drug study that helped slow its progression – which allowed him to return to acting when he created a spin off series called The New Adventures of Old Christine starring alongside Julia Louis Dreyfus before eventually returning once again as Alex Keaton in 2013 during season five of The Good Wife.

Oscar Pistorius

South African sprinter known as „Blade Runner” famous for being the first amputee to participate in track events at the Olympics against non-disabled runners. He was born without fibulas and had both legs amputated below his knees before age one after being forced to endure several corrective procedures that did not fully correct them, but he still went on to compete alongside able bodied athletes even though it’s been reported by many famous people with disabilities who claim they wouldn’t ever want something like this for themselves or their children because of the struggles associated with having an unusual appearance. However, Pistorius has always maintained that there is no reason why someone like him should be barred from competing if other disabled athletes are allowed to do so already – which eventually led him all the way up until 2012 when he became known as „Blade Runner” instead.

Aron Ralston

amous American mountain climber famous for being forced to amputate his own arm in 2003 after getting trapped by a boulder while canyoneering alone near Blue John Canyon in Eastern Utah – and who also happens to be famous because of a 2010 film called 127 Hours that stars James Franco recreating what happened during those harrowing moments when it became clear nothing else could possibly save him from death or further injury (and which is based off an autobiography written about these experiences). Despite suffering through such tremendous physical pain, Ralston still went on to become one of only three people ever (at the time) known to have performed this of self surgery without any medical assistance or anesthesia (which is the only reason why he was able to survive it before succumbing to his injuries).

 Shelley Smith

Famous American sports reporter known for covering basketball and volleyball at ESPN famous because of her congenital limb deficiency – which has made working in a field where people constantly stare very difficult. She decided not to let this stop her after watching someone else do it on TV though, and she went on to become one of their most trusted reporters despite receiving many complaints from viewers who didn’t like seeing stories about disabled athletes every time they tuned into one of these games. Her response was that „they don’t watch all those other 'normal’ sporting events either” so there’s no point in pandering just because you happen to have this extra part.

Joe Friel

Famous American cyclist famous for being born with an underdeveloped right leg that led to him getting a knee replacement while he was still in high school – which never stopped him from becoming one of the most successful cyclists in the world during his career (and who is also famous because of his best selling books about endurance sports training). He went on to become known as „one of the five or ten most important people” behind Lance Armstrong’s remarkable rise to fame and dominance, but later remarked how all these years they were competitors rather than friends despite their shared history together.

Jessica Cox

Famous aviator famous for having been born without arms due to her mother drinking too much caffeine when she was pregnant with her. She’s famous because of how she learned to adapt by learning everything with her feet, which included eating and playing the piano – among other things that people without arms normally do. Despite this though, Jessica has never let anything stop her from becoming a pilot or doing what it takes to make certain dreams come true (which included getting married at first despite everyone telling her no).

Rick Hansen

Famous Canadian wheelchair athlete famous for being paraplegic due to an accident during his youth caused by someone running into him while he was riding his bicycle on a country road. He went on to become one of Canada’s most accomplished athletes after wheeling around the world in 1980 as part of an effort that raised $26 million over 26 months towards funding advancements in the treatment and research of spinal cord injuries.

Loretta Claiborne

famous American fashion designer famous for creating clothes that actually look good on people with disabilities after being inspired by her own experiences as a wheelchair user (which led to many years working at „the largest manufacturer of adaptive clothing” before she finally turned this into her full time career). She’s also famous because one day while shopping, someone came up to ask if they could take pictures of all the stylish things she was wearing – which eventually became known as The Wheelchair Wardrobe Project. Her goal is always about making sure disabled people feel more confident when going out every morning rather than having them be ashamed or embarrassed because their clothes don’t fit well enough.

Willa Ford

Famous American singer famous after being diagnosed with osteomyelitis (which is a rare condition that makes it difficult for people to walk) – which led to her having both of her legs amputated below the knee. Despite this though, she still went on become one of the most famous singers in Hollywood before mysteriously disappearing from public view completely. She’s famous because of how she never let anything stop her despite all these health problems and has always wanted to be known as „that little girl who was born missing part of my lower leg” instead of „the girl who had fake limbs”.

Piergiorgio Welby

Famous Italian activist famous for inspiring Italy’s first euthanasia legislation by refusing any more treatment or medication that would prolong his life after being diagnosed with severe emphysema. He’s famous because of how he battled in court for six years to be able to die the way he wanted, which was only made possible when Italy passed their ground-breaking law allowing people with terminal illnesses (who are mentally aware) the right to choose when they want medical treatment stopped so they can avoid any further suffering – including starvation or dehydration if necessary.

Henry Evans

Famous American artist famous for becoming blind by age five due to congenital glaucoma (which is a rare eye condition that causes blindness if not properly treated). Despite this though, his family helped support him through school so he could get an education before going on to teach himself Braille and painting while completing high school later on in life just like everyone else was doing too. In fact, most people don’t even realize he is disabled until they notice all the braille books on his shelves at home. He’s famous because of how he never let anything stop him from following his dreams and is now famous for painting artworks with light (which allow people to see them even if they are blind).

Aimee Mullins

Famous American athlete famous after becoming the first amputee to compete in college track events as an NCAA Division I student-athlete (and later competed professionally too) despite having both of her legs amputated below the knee due to a bone disease (that she was born with called fibular hemimelia that made it difficult for her legs to grow properly). Despite this though, she went on become one of the world’s best long jumpers before going on use her famous legs for inspiring disabled people around the world to not let anything stop them from following their dreams. She’s famous because of how she never wanted anyone to feel sorry for her no matter what and has since gone on use these famous prosthetics (which were made famous thanks largely in part due to a fashion show with designer Alexander McQueen) as well as become an actress, writer, motivational speaker and model too instead – which helped bring attention towards making sure everyone is given equal opportunities regardless of any disabilities they might have.

Craig Blanchette

Famous Canadian artist famous after becoming legally blind by age six due to cataracts (that his parents didn’t realize he was born with until it was almost too late). Despite this though, he went on to be one of the youngest people in history at only 24 years old to have his artwork publicly displayed thanks largely due to famous Canadian art curator Peter Doig. He’s famous because he never let anything stop him from following his dreams and has since gone on use famous paintings (that are difficult for anyone but himself to see) as well as become an award-winning author, speaker and advocate instead – which helped bring attention towards making sure everyone is given equal opportunities regardless of any disabilities they might have.

Christopher Reeve

Famous American actor famous after becoming almost completely paralyzed due to a horseback riding accident (that most people thought would end his acting career). Despite this though, he went on to continue working as an actor and director instead by using famous clever voice techniques that allowed him to speak just like anyone else was doing too. He’s famous because of how he never let anything stop him from following his dreams and is now known for helping bring attention towards paralysis research as well as bringing awareness towards stem cell research too thanks largely in part due to the famous movie „Superman” – which helped inspire others around the world with disabilities despite everyone believing it wouldn’t be possible without actually having superpowers.

Robert Pershing Wadlow

Famous American person famous after becoming the tallest human being in recorded history at eight feet eleven inches tall (which he achieved by age 22). Despite this though, his family helped support him through school so he could get an education before going on to work as a radio announcer and basketball player despite everyone’s doubts that it was possible without anyone really knowing how. He’s famous because of how he never let anything stop him from following his dreams and is now famous for helping bring attention towards people with growth disorders too thanks largely due to famous book „The Man Who Lives Forever” – which inspired others around the world not to give up no matter what obstacles are placed against them.

Temple Grandin

Famous animal scientist famous after developing autism spectrum disorder at age three before going on to graduate from college by age twenty. Despite this though, she went on to become famous for her work with animals and was even named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at age 42. She is famous because she never let anything stop her from following her dreams no matter what obstacles were in front of her.

John Hockenberry

Famous radio journalist famous after becoming paralyzed by an accident that left him as a C-class quadriplegic (which means he has movement in his head, eyes, some neck motion). Despite this though, he went on to make sure everyone always knew about their rights when it came to disabilities before going onto be awarded multiple Emmys along with being inducted into both The Broadcasting & Cable Hall Of Fame as well as the National Radio Hall Of Fame too. He is famous because he never let anything stop him from following his dreams no matter what obstacles were in front of him and has since gone on to become famous for helping bring attention towards people with disabilities as well as ensuring that everyone around the world would be able to live equally without having to face any discrimination along the way.

The famous people with disabilities is very inspiring. They are all doing wonderful things despite their physical limitations or handicaps.

Famous people with disabilities are truly inspiring to others who may be facing similar challenges. They prove you can do anything if one puts their mind to it no matter what limitations or obstacles they face. One should never give up on themselves because there’s always something that can be done even when life seems tough. People shouldn’t let their disabilities define them as famous people with disabilities do amazing things in today’s society!

About Us. Mission, Vision & Values

DPO’s mission is to include disability issues in mainstream development to enable persons with disabilities to obtain equal opportunities and full participation.

Our vision is that persons with disabilities will enjoy equal opportunities and full participation in all spheres of life.

In conducting our work, we are committed to applying the following values:

  • Disability is a cross-cutting development issue
  • Equal opportunities and mutual respect
  • Creativeness and professionalism
  • Participatory decision-making
  • Transparency and accountability

Our People

DPO currently has a total staffing complement of approximately 140 people, who work across its 5 offices and training centres in Dhaka, Savar in Bangladesh. The majority of staff are specialist disability trainers and project managers who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Over the years DPO has built a reputation as a centre for excellence for disability related development and this is based on the exceptional quality and professionalism of our people of whom we are justifiably proud.

Working in partnership

The way in which we apply the CBR framework (see last section for overview of CBR) in our work is to encourage its inclusion in the ongoing activities of existing development organisations. Our rationale is that if the resources and capacity of these organisations could be tapped to address disability issues within their general work then a large number of persons with disabilities could be reached more efficiently and effectively than using a separate delivery mechanism. DPO’s aim is to develop the service delivery capacity of existing direct service development organisations to expand and change the focus of their programs to be more inclusive of persons with disabilities and recognise their rights and capacities to allow them to be active participants. Our other key focus area is indirect tertiary service organisations who also deliver services to persons with disabilities, such as national and local government, educational institutions, health organisations etc.

In this way we seek to implement CBR at all levels in society using direct and indirect service delivery organisations as a conduit to reaching local communities. DPO currently has partnerships with over 350 development organisations, disabled people’s organisations, institutional bodies and government departments who have been extensively trained by DPO and are committed to implementing the CBR framework in their communities, and since our inception we have trained over 12,000 development workers in how to apply the principles of CBR in their work.

As this highlights, training is the key to the successful implementation of our approach. Our vision is that development programs at a local, regional, national and international level will focus on activities which change the attitudes of people and organisations to disability in order to:

  • Create more equitable sharing of resources and facilitate capacity building, empowerment and community mobilisation of persons with disabilities and their families.
  • Eliminate the barriers that result in the exclusion of disabled persons and activate communities to promote and protect the human rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Support persons with disabilities to maximise their physical and mental abilities, to access regular services and opportunities, and to become active contributors to the community.