9 People Who Used Their Disabilities to Achieve Their Dreams

2 years ago

There are some people whose very lives serve as inspiration to the rest of the world, in ways both big and small. For instance, actor Christopher Reeve became a quadriplegic in the prime of his life, after getting thrown by his horse at an equestrian event. The Superman star remained in a wheelchair for the rest of his life and lobbied for the rights of the disabled.

Bright Side salutes the warrior spirit of such amazing folks and is listing out 9 inspiring people sure to encourage a can-do feeling in you.

1. Acting was Keira Knightley’s tool for overcoming dyslexia.

Keira Knightley started having reading and writing problems as young as 6 years old and she remembers “excruciating” moments when she would be called stupid by her peers. But she had a love for acting, and her mother encouraged her to read Emma Thompson’s screenplay for the novel, Sense and Sensibility, promising acting classes in return.

Motivated, Knightley conquered her dyslexia and became a much-loved and lauded actress.

2. Kyle Maynard is an MMA athlete with a congenital amputation.

Kyle Maynard was born with a congenital amputation, in that his arms and legs never developed when he was still in utero. Despite being severely disabled since birth, Maynard decided to pursue sports as a career, playing football, and then moving on to wrestling. Today, he’s a respected MMA athlete and the first quadruple amputee to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without the aid of prosthetics.

3. Henry Salas is a quadriplegic who paints with his mouth.

Henry Salas was living a normal healthy life, destined for success and happiness, like any young adult. In 2011, things changed when he became paralyzed from the neck down because of transverse myelitis (TM). But once his friends got him a phone, art became his solace.

Despite the limited mobility of his neck, Salas is able to create beautiful art on a digital medium and takes commissions as well. He is known as the “mouth artist” or the “mouth ninja.”

4. Maysoon Zayid uses her cerebral palsy as a comic.

Actress and comedian Maysoon Zayid has cerebral palsy, but that hasn’t stopped her from being a successful stand-up comic, and she’s willing to crack jokes about her condition as well. She also campaigns for the rights of the disabled and talks about how Hollywood needs to be more inclusive and do more when it comes to wheelchair access.

5. Lady Gaga deals with chronic inflammation and pain.

Lady Gaga has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic pain and inflammation, and she’s been raising awareness about it as well. She’s had to cancel tours over it in order to seek treatment. She admitted this on Instagram in a detailed post and also mentioned how it is keeping her from leading a normal life.

6. Iris Grace is a child artist on the autism spectrum.

Iris Grace is on the autism spectrum and became more communicative after she met and adopted a Maine Coone cat, Thula, who is now her constant companion. Grace loves to paint, and her artwork is sold to raise awareness about her condition and autism, as well as raise money for her therapy, education, and future.

7. Erik Weihenmayer is a blind mountaineer.

Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind mountaineer to climb Mt. Everest in 2001. His achievements put him on the cover of Time magazine and today, he’s known as an athlete, author, as well as a motivational speaker. He’s also the only blind mountaineer to have conquered 8 summits as well as some other notable peaks.

8. John Bramblitt is a functionally blind artist.

John Bramblitt went blind in 2001 due to complications with epilepsy and Lyme disease and sunk into a depression. He discovered art and learned to distinguish paints by feeling their textures. He taught himself how to paint and is an accomplished and award-winning artist today.

9. Emilia Clarke battled aphasia after an aneurysm.

Just after the first season of Game of Thrones ended, Emilia Clarke, who plays Khaleesi, had a brain aneurysm. She was just 24, needed immediate surgery to save her life, and even had temporary aphasia, where she ended up speaking gibberish instead of the words she wanted to say. Later, she developed another aneurysm and had an even more complicated surgery to cure it.

Today, she speaks about brain damage and injuries to remove any stigma from such incidents and runs a charity, SameYou, as well.

Have you come across any amazing people in your life? What do you think of their survivor stories, and how did they inspire you?


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