Meet The 15 Most Successful People With Disabilities

Here, we look at 15 most successful personalities with disabilities who rose above even the fully functional people to claim their fame:

1. Stephen Hawking – ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

Stephen Hawking

Profession – English Theoretical Physicist

Stephen Hawking is a well-known celebrity in academics and recipient of numerous appreciations: Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Presidential Medal of Freedom and lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Despite being challenged by motor neuron disease, he is one of the most admired scientists in physics, with numerous books and publications under his belt.

2. Helen Keller – Blind and Deaf

Helen Keller

Profession – Lecturer and Activist

Keller was the first ever to earn Bachelors in Arts. She was also a political activist and a celebrated author in America. She was one of the leading hands in founding American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

3. John Nash – Schizophrenia

John Nash

Profession – Renowned American Mathematician

John Nash suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Few years after being out of college, Nash starting developing signs of schizophrenia. However, the illness never affected his love for mathematics. His work on geometry and partial differential equations is still considered as outstanding.

4. Christy Brown – Cerebral Palsy

Christy Brown

Profession – Poet, Painter and Author

Brown was challenged with cerebral palsy. Until the age of 5, he wasn’t able to respond on his own will. Only after that, his left foot was responsive as opposed to the whole body. He is a celebrity author for his autobiography ‘My Left Foot’.

5. Demosthenes – Stammer


Profession – Orator

Demosthenes was one of the most robust and influential speakers of all time. At a tender age of 11, he tried to commit suicide; however, he survived. He used to sit by the beach for hours, with pebbles in his mouth. Eventually, he became of the most admired orators in history.

6. Vincent van Gough – Mental Illness

Vincent van Gough

Profession – Painter

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Vincent Van Gough was one of the most admired and influential painters to have walked the face of the Earth. He suffered depression and was hospitalized. Although he killed himself, his paintings remained as one of the marvelous crafts of all time.

7. Beethoven – Deaf


Profession – Composer

Despite being deaf, Beethoven turned out to be one of the biggest composers of all time. He was guided by Mozart and studied Piano. He was famous for his brilliant and dubious improvisations.

8. Sudha Chandran – Amputation

Sudha Chandran

Profession – Dancer

Sudha Chandran met with a terrible accident one time that resulted in the amputation of her right leg. Despite the crushing disability, Chandran emerged as one of the most acclaimed and influential classical dancers in India.

9. Frida Kahlo – Polio

frida kahlo

Profession – Painter

Kahlo suffered from polio. Despite her physical disability, she was one of the most celebrated painters in all of Mexico. Her painting mostly includes self-portraits, landscaped and figment of imagination.

10. Marla Runyan – Stargardt’s Disease

Marla Runyan

Profession – Professional Runner

Marla Runyan developed Stargardt’s Disease at the age of 9. This left her blinded for the rest of her life. However, she took the stick of courage and emerged out as a national champion 3 times in women’s 5000-metres race. She won medals and accolades at various national and international sporting events.

11. Stevie Wonder – Blind

stevie wonder singer blind

Profession : Musician, Singer

12. Marlee Matlin – Deaf

marlee matlin oscar

Profession : Actress

13. Ralph Braun – Muscular Dystrophy


Profession : Businessman, Founder and CEO of Braun Corporation

14. John Hockenberry –  Spinal Cord Injury

john hockenberry

Profession : Journalist, Author, 4 times Emmy Award Winner

15. Tanni Grey-Thompson – Spina Bifida

tanni grey thompson

Profession : Wheelchair Racer

The stories of the above personalities prove only one important fact – it takes more than courage to face the adversities to win over and be victorious. If they could do it, so could you!

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