The 2012 Paralympics raised awareness of people with disabilities, and not just among the athletic community: the ripples spread outwards causing a surge of interest in the achievements of people with disabilities across the spectrum. Chartwell Insurance, a completely independent insurance broker that offers a specialist, caring service for disabled customers, has investigated famous people with disabilities who have touched our lives.
Part 1, features five men and Part 2 five women. Check out the lists we suggest at the end of this piece to find many more inspiring individuals.
Scientist: Stephen Hawking is a British theoretical physicist, whose scientific career spans over 40 years. Diagnosed with motor neuron disease when he was 21, doctors said he would not survive more than two or three years. But he has survived; gradually losing the use of his arms, legs, and voice, and is now almost completely paralysed. His book A Brief History of Time propelled him to the public consciousness in 1988, and he was seen recently in the opening ceremony for the 2012 Paralympic games. The Daily Mail has published ten things to know about Stephen Hawking.
Athlete: It’s hard to single out anyone from the Paralympics but in terms of medal count David Weir, a British Paralympic wheelchair athlete, has an impressive tally. He has won a total of six gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games, and has won the London Marathon on six occasions as well.
Politician: David Blunket, blind since birth, entered the cut-throat world of British politics as a councilor on Sheffield County Council at the age of 22 years. He went on to become an MP in 1987 and resigned as Home Secretary in 2004 over a visa application scandal. He continues to be involved with the Labour Party and is an outspoken campaigner for the rights of disabled people.
Actor: Warwick Davis is an English Actor with dwarfism, who has managed to turn his lack of height to his advantage. He has played the title character in Willow, was seen as Ewok Wicket in Star Wars and Professor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter films. He is currently receiving acclaim for his starring role with Rickey Gervais in Life’s Too Short.
Musician: Although he died in 1999 Curtis Mayfield, has left a remarkable legacy of socialawareness and civil rights in R & B music. His funky style was the sound of the 70s with hits including Move on Up and Superfly. He was paralysed in 1990 when a lighting gantry fell on him while on stage.
Why stop at five? Once you start looking there are hundreds of brilliant personalities out there who haven’t let their disabilities stand in their way. For more general information, check out the list on Disabled World, the top ten list on List Verse and a more unusual list on Soulful Encounters. What Disability’s inspirational video, is not only a useful reference source for finding famous disabled people but it includes quotes from those featured aimed at showing just what can be achieved with motivation and determination.