Inspiring stories of triumph over illness or disability


  Inspiring stories of triumph over illness or disability

What are the benefits of living with a disability?

There is no more difficult life than that of someone living with a disability, or even someone who has just lost a loved one. For most individuals, it's hard to imagine what life would be like if you had no condition that prevents you from doing the tasks we take for granted everyday.
Though often seen as obstacles to live with instead of assets, people living with disabilities have made extraordinary achievements in their fields and pushed the boundaries in ways that some may not have been able to without them. With technology at their fingertips and resources available from all over the world, they have managed to live productive lives despite being limited by their conditions.
While it's important to acknowledge how difficult it can be to live with a disability, we must also recognize that it's the person and the perseverance and courage they have in facing what they do each day that inspires us. Below are some inspiring stories of people who have made it through their struggles.
1. Tim Shieff – Wheelchair Basketball

Also known as the "Blade Runner", Tim Shieff is an athlete who plays wheelchair basketball for Great Britain. Besides being a Paralympian twice over, he is also a successful motivational speaker.
1. He was born prematurely with his left arm permanently paralyzed and doctors couldn't say whether he'd ever walk or even race again.
2. He is now the only person who has climbed Mount Everest in a wheelchair.
3. To support himself financially, Shieff became a professional poker player but quickly realised that he could leverage his position as a disabled athlete to spread awareness of their potential and inspire others to overcome their own obstacles.
4. In 2010, he founded the No Barriers Foundation, an organization that brings together people with disabilities and Olympians, and also coaches corporate employees in health, fitness and leadership.
5. His mission is to help people see their potential and develop their skills.
6. He is married with three sons, who he calls his "favourite students".
2. David Hockney - Artist
David Hockney was born in 1937 to a mother who suffered from mental illness and an alcoholic father, who abandoned the family early on.
1. As a child, Hockney was obsessed with drawing and he said that as a child he drew constantly, showing little interest in other activities. His father thought that drawing wouldn't be encouraging enough for him so decided to buy him painting lessons instead .
2. He was a talented artist, who made an impressive living as one of Britain's best-known artists.
3. However, he is perhaps best known for his flower paintings. He was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England with dyslexia and suffered from depression after shifting to a new town when he was eleven and had to leave his schoolfriends behind.
4. He continued to pursue drawing despite these challenges and became a professional artist at the age of 22. It wasn't until he was 48 that he painted his first oil painting .
5. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1987, and was knighted by Elizabeth II in 1996.
6. In spite of his mental health struggles and homelessness after divorcing his first wife, he has continued to work hard and pursue his art.
3. Robert Schuller – Religious Leader
Robert Schuller is an American religious leader who founded the twentieth-century American Churches of Christ movement . He also founded the Hour of Power television program for which there is a local TV version in most US states as well as internationally .
1. He became a pastor at the age of 36 and started his own church shortly afterwards.
2. He was named in Time Magazine's "25 Most Influential Evangelists" list.
3. Schuller has written over 70 books, including 27 New York Times bestselling books, such as 31 Days to a More Powerful Prayer Life .
4. He is known for his dynamic and striking sermons, which are popular throughout the United States and have made him famous internationally .
5. In recent years, he has become more politically involved and supported Republican politicians such as George W Bush . This led to some criticism from the LGBT community who felt it betrayed their community's support for them as they were denied civil rights in the US since 1964 .
6. He has however on several occasions condemned the Republican Party for their denial of civil rights to the LGBT community and even went so far as to say that he would not vote for a single Republican candidate for political office.
7. One of his most powerful messages is that God loves everyone – not because they are good or deserve it, but simply because it's his nature .
4. Stephen Hawking – Physicist
Stephen Hawking is one of Britain's best-known scientists whose work on cosmology and quantum gravity has transformed our understanding of the universe. His book A Brief History of Time made him an international celebrity. He was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England.
1. He was born with a condition called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease).
2. As a child, he suffered severe bullying through exclusion from the school system due to his physical and mental disabilities.
3. He spent time in an institution for disabled children where he learnt to speak and read . He was also taught how to use computers.
4. In 1961, he entered Cambridge University where he studied mathematics and physics . During his studies there, he wrote his first paper on the cosmological creation of the universe but it was rejected by Cambridge's academic journal because it was too difficult for them to comprehend .
5. He became a PhD in applied mathematics and theoretical physics at the age of 25 and was elected a fellow and a member of the college's governing body.
6. By 2009, he had published best-selling books such as The Universe in a Nutshell, A Briefer History of Time , Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays . His wedding to his carer Elaine Mason was televised on American TV.
7. He has received many awards including the Albert Einstein Award for Outstanding Science Communication . He has received an Honorary Doctorate from six different universities in the UK, Ireland, France and Sweden . He is also an honorary member of multiple science academies around the world .
5. Michael J Fox – Actor
Michael J. Fox is a Canadian-American actor; he is best known for his role as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy . He was born on June 9, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
1. He was diagnosed with an early onset of Parkinson's disease in 1991 at age 29 .
2. Shortly after his diagnosis, he left Spin City to focus on his health and establishing a foundation for research into Parkinson's Disease .
3. He is the founder of The Michael J Fox Foundation which raises money for finding a cure for Parkinson's disease and he has been active in raising awareness about the disease . He received the American Parkinson Disease Association's inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 .


This article looked at the lives of a variety of famous people who have suffered with or have been affected by mental health disorders. It looked at their lives before they were afflicted and how their mental health impacts their personal experiences, how they have coped with it, whether or not it has impacted on their career and what kind of impact it has had on them specifically. In the next article we will be looking at famous people who have been victims to some form of bullying in order to see what we can learn from this.

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