Author Iko Iakobidze

25.03.2021 13:59

5 Famous People With Disabilities in History

people with disabilities

Illustration: Mariam Kanchaveli

In this article, we would like to explore with you 5 successful people, who have left their mark on our history while having disabilities.  Luckily, there are numerous examples of human capacities being limitless, showing that any of us can live an accomplished life regardless of his or her inherent abilities and achieve success and immortalize their name.

Stephen Hawking

British astrophysicist and physicist, who developed an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at the age of 21 and completely lost the ability to move by 30. However, this fact wasn’t really an obstacle for the young physicist, he continued getting an education and learning cosmology. He later got married and became the father of a girl and two boys. In the end, he obtained a PhD and a Professor status from the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy. Stephen Hawking is laureate of 12 honorary scientific titles and many awards, medals and orders, a member of the Great Britain Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy. Despite the heavy diagnosis, he pursued his work until the end of his life and was a researcher of Black Holes and the physical foundations of the Big Bang. He was also studying Einstein’s theory of relativity. It’s also interesting to note that you can even hear Stephen Hawking talking (he lost speech at the age of 43) in some of the Pink Floyd songs: “Keep Talking (The Division Bell)” and “Talkin Hawkin (The Endless River)”.

Nick Vujicic

The person who is the definition of positivity, an example of an unbreakable spirit and an extremely strong willpower. 

“The moment when people see me for the first time amuses me a lot. I like observing their reactions. Children look at me fascinated, they approach me and ask me: What is wrong with you? And I answer: Nothing, I’m happy with life!”

Nick is an Australian motivational speaker, painter, swimmer, parachutist, who conducts a big number of meetings around the world and shares the story of his life with people, giving them motivation and setting an example of how, in any situation, we can enjoy life and be strong. He was born with the tetra-amelia syndrome, which means that he doesn’t have any limbs. Nick was actively engaged in the issues regarding the defense of rights of disabled persons since his school years, as there were many periods in his life when he was bullied because of his condition. Vujicic is also the author of several autobiographical books: “Life Without Limits”, “Love Without Limits” (he’s been married since 2012), “UNSTOPPABLE”, “LIMITLESS” and many others. Vujicic currently lives in California with his wife and children and continues his work. He has even received an award for best actor in a short film for “The Butterfly Circus”.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

German pianist and composer, Beethoven was distinguished with his individual style. It’s interesting that he created his most important and valued composition when he was almost completely deaf. However, this fact has never become an obstacle for him and he actively pursued his work until 1814 when he completely lost his hearing.
He had begun losing his hearing in the beginning of the 1800’s. His work comprises his only opera “Fidelio” and the 9th Symphony, which is one of the first choir symphonies. His last accomplishments are connected to the creation of string quartets, after which he soon became ill for several months and died in 1827. However, his name is forever immortalized and lives on in his creations.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

32nd president of the United States. He was elected 4 times and is the only US president to have been elected for more than 2 terms. He was one of the distinguished personalities of the 20th century and is often mentioned among the three greatest American presidents.
He and his wife Eleonore Roosevelt are still considered as cornerstones of liberalism. Because of poliomyelitis, Franklin Roosevelt used a wheelchair until his dying days.

Finally, it would be inconceivable, after talking about so many people with strong spirits and unlimited strength, not to mention the Georgian fencing world para-champion woman - Irma Khetsuriani.

Irma Khetsuriani

Irma was born in Abkhazia, Georgia. Her life path was definitely not a bed of roses. She experienced what it was like to have the status of refugee and was 13 years old when her mother left in emigration. Irma’s life changed drastically in the first year of university and she is now a wheelchair user. Naturally, there were many, many depressive days, but she managed to learn “taking steps” again in this new reality and is now a successful para-sportswoman who has received numerous world champion medals, champion titles and many first places in para-fencing. Irma is a great example for many people who don’t dare or simply don’t wish to fight to achieve their goals and realize their dreams.

It’s quite sad that, even in the 21st century, people have to fight for their rights. But I hope that with the support from all of us and the awareness of the responsibility that each of us has in building a tolerant and humane society, the existing reality will very soon shift for the better.

 

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