World’s most inspiring people with disabilities who rose above their physical challenges


There are quite a number of people in this world who have had the misfortune of becoming physically challenged and disabled. Some have been born that way and some have been the victims of severe accidents, resulting in paralysis or loss of limbs. However, there are a few people, who have risen above such challenges and become success stories like no other. These are the inspirational few whose touching stories deserve a bow and a mark of respect from humankind. Here are eight inspiring people with disabilities.

8 Sudha Chandran

Sudha Chandra was an accomplished exponent of the Indian classical dance form known as Bharat Natyam right from the age of three. Misfortune struck her at a young age when she met with a bus accident in Trichy district of Kerala state in India. Although not injured severely, an ankle wound became infectious resulting in amputation of her right foot. But, that did not deter Sudha Chandran from following her dream of becoming India’s most famous classical dancer. Fitted with a wooden Jaipur foot, she practiced and persevered for three years till her disability did not even bother her. She went on to live her dream, winning several awards in the bargain.

Sudha Chandran

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7 Sam Cawthorn

The Australian Author, Motivational speaker and life coach was the recipient of the ‘Australian of the Year Award’ in 2009. He became disabled from a life threatening accident, in which he we was almost mistaken for being dead. He was told by doctors that he would be handicapped and would spend his life in a wheel chair. He suffered severe injuries and an amputated right arm, which was later replaced by a prosthetic one programmed to his iPhone 5.

Today he is among the few guitarists who can play a guitar despite of an amputated arm. He went on to write several motivational books and also founded a charity called the Cawthorn Foundation.

Sam Cawthorn

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6 Ralph Braun

Ralph Braun founded the Braun Corporation and was the inventor of the first wheelchair van with a platform. Surprisingly, though, Braun was a disabled handicap suffering from muscular dystrophy from the age of six. Though, severely handicapped, Braun went on to create several mobile contraptions that would help disabled people for years to come. In 2012, the US government honored him with the title ‘The Champion of Change.’

Ralph Braun

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5 Arunima Sinha

It is no mean feat to hold the title of an ‘Everester’. There are many people who have risked and lost their lives trying to summit the world’s highest mountain. Yet, that did not deter Arunima Sinha from India. A victim of harassment while on a train journey in India, she as thrown out of a running train for resisting robbers, who were snatching her chain. 49 trains ran over Arunima’s leg, but she was lucky to be alive.

However, this woman’s sheer grit and will power made her accomplish a feat that none could have ever contemplated. She became the world’s first amputee to climb Mount Everest and can truly qualify to be one of the most significant and inspiring people with disabilities.

Arunima Sinha

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4 Christopher Reeves

We all knew Christopher Reeves as the handsome Superman of the eighties. This actor, producer and director, was unfortunate enough to suffer a fall from a horse, which paralyzed him from his neck downwards. It was an ill-fated blow to his movie career. With mental and emotional support from his family, Reeves conquered the mental anguish over his disability, and became an ambassador for stem cell research for spinal cord injury. Reeves went on to become the Chairman of the American Paralysis Association.

Christopher Reeves

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3 Helen Keller

One of history’s most famous personalities, who revolutionized the way the deaf and blind perceive the world. Keller was struck down with disease when she was one and a half, leaving her deaf and dumb. Her teacher and mentor Anne Sullivan taught her communication which Keller would go on to improve. Keller became the world’s first deaf and blind person to study and earn a degree where she graduated in arts from Radcliffe University. Keller went on to become a pioneer and activist for the deaf and blind, establishing the Helen Keller International Organization that indulged in research in vision, health and nutrition.

Helen Keller

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2 Nicholas James Vujicic

Nicholas James Vuijicic was an Australian, diagnosed with one of the world’s rarest conditions where he was born without all four limbs. Throughout his life, he struggled with his disability where he ultimately overcame the challenges and went on to graduate in commerce and financial planning. Nicholas Vujicic went on to become one of Australia’s most motivating speakers, inspiring people to overcome their disabilities. He was awarded the Australian Young Citizen award in 1990.

Nicholas James Vujicic

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1 Stephen Hawking

The Albert Einstein of the modern world and one of the most inspiring people with disabilities, renowned English Physicist has cemented his name in the annals of quantum physics. His pioneering work in interpreting cosmology, quantum mechanics and general relativity has made him one of the leading authorities on the subject in modern times. Noted among his achievements is his book, “A Brief History of Time”. With such great achievements, it would be hard to realize that this man suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which left him paralyzed throughout his life. Unable to speak, he communicates through a speech generating device worked by a single muscle of his cheek.

Stephen Hawking

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Commended for his work, Hawking’s international acclaim and awards are countless and he will go down as one of the biggest personalities of science of his time.


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