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Inspiring: People with Disabilities News Articles

Below are key excerpts of inspiring news articles on people with disabilities from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.

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Dick Hoyt, 'heart and soul of the Boston Marathon,' dies at 80
2021-03-17, Boston Globe
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/03/18/metro/dick-hoyt-heart-soul-boston-mara...

By his own assessment, Dick Hoyt wasn't in racing shape the first time his teenage son Rick, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, asked if they could participate in a 5-mile fund-raising race – father pushing son in a wheelchair. "I said, 'Yeah, let's go down there and try it.' I had no idea what would happen, and nobody else did, either," Mr. Hoyt later recalled. "Most people expected us to go down to the corner and come back, but we ended up doing the whole thing." From those first racing steps, the two became legends in running circles and inspirational worldwide as they participated in more than 1,000 competitions, including dozens of marathons and multiple triathlons. Mr. Hoyt ... was 80 when he died of heart failure Wednesday. Though Mr. Hoyt and Rick posted a best time of 2:40:47 in the Marine Corps Marathon – a pace many marathoners will never touch running alone – the teaming of father and son was, for both, more important than all else. "When we're out there," Mr. Hoyt told the Globe in 1990, "there's nothing I feel I can't do with Rick." "Dick started this whole movement of duos, and Team Hoyt inspired thousands of people around the world," said longtime Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray. "He helped open the door to people believing in themselves, and the walls of intimidation crumbled." Most runners would be too intimidated to even try what Mr. Hoyt did over and over again – push a wheelchair carrying a boy, who became a grown man, up and down hills for 26.2 miles.

Note: Don't miss the profoundly inspiring and beautiful story and video of this dynamic duo available on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.


Her Life's a Sprint, Legacy Long Running
1994-11-13, Chicago Tribune
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1994-11-13-9411130119-story.html

Wilma Rudolph outran poverty, polio, scarlet fever and the limits placed on black women by societal convention to win three gold medals in sprint events at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. By the time brain cancer caught Rudolph, leading to her death Saturday at age 54, she had achieved a stature that made her legend and her sport greater in the long run. The 20th of 22 children of a porter and a cleaning lady, Rudolph lost the use of her left leg after contracting polio and scarlet fever at age 4. Doctors told her parents she never would walk again without braces, but she refused to accept that prognosis and began to walk unassisted at age 9. It wasn't long before she was outrunning all the girls and boys in her neighborhood. At 16, already under the tutelage of Tennessee State University coach Ed Temple, Rudolph won a bronze medal on the 4 x 100-meter relay at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Four years later, when she was the mother of a 2-year-old, Rudolph won the three golds despite running all three events with a sprained ankle. After being voted Associated Press female athlete of the year in 1960 and 1961 and the Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete in 1961, Rudolph retired at 21, a decision that reflects an era in which lack of financial incentives kept most Olympic careers short. She turned to a variety of humanitarian projects, including goodwill ambassador to West Africa, coaching at DePauw University and working for underprivileged children through the Wilma Rudolph Foundation.

Note: The remarkable woman once commented, "My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother."


Revolutionary Music Therapy Helps Paralyzed Man Walk and Talk Again – It 'Unlocked the Brain'
2023-04-30, Good News Network
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/music-therapy-helps-paralyzed-man-walk-and-ta...

A patient who was left almost completely paralyzed from a rare disease is now walking and talking again, after a music therapist prescribed mindful listening to his favorite song every night–in this case, a tune by The Carpenters. 71 year-old Ian Palmer was struck down with Guillain-Barr© syndrome last June, forcing him to spend seven months in a hospital where he was unable to walk or speak properly. The rare condition happens when a person's own immune system attacks their body's motor nerves, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. But when Ian was transferred to Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre, a state-of-the-art care unit in Lancashire, England, clinicians used music therapy techniques to overcome 'near total paralysis of his body'. His specialist, Clare, taught him mindfulness techniques using his favorite records–and he began listening to The Carpenters each night. Ian was admittedly skeptical, but he can now walk 2 miles a day (3k) and have conversations with his family after the exercises "opened up" his brain. He's never been very musical, so when Sue Ryder first suggested music therapy he said, 'What good is that going to do?' "I'm a typical Northern man, and I thought, 'What's a girl with a guitar going to do for me–get me to the gym.'" "But it really worked. Clare sat me down and explained the process. I learned that music is very unlike other therapies, as it opens up all of the brain."

Note: Watch a profoundly touching documentary about a man who takes on the broken healthcare system to demonstrate music's ability to heal, combat memory loss, and awaken the soul and the deepest parts of humanity. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'It has transformed my life': the restaurant where all staff have a disability
2019-06-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/10/universo-santi-spanish-restaura...

There is something different, and a little special, about Universo Santi, a restaurant in the southern Spanish city of Jerez. People dont come here because the staff are disabled but because its the best restaurant in the area. Whatever reason they came for, the talking is about the food, says Antonio Vila. Vila is the president of the Fundacin Universo Accesible, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping people with disabilities join the mainstream workforce. He has also been the driving force behind Universo Santi, the haute cuisine restaurant whose 20 employees all have some form of disability. I always wanted to show what people with disabilities, given the right training, were capable of, says Vila. I feel really lucky to be part of this, says Gloria Bazn, head of human resources, who has cerebral palsy. Its difficult to work when society just sees you as someone with a handicap. This has given me the opportunity to be independent and to participate like any other human being. Alejandro Gimnez, 23, has Downs syndrome and is a commis chef. Its given me the chance to become independent doing something Ive loved since I was a kid, says Gimnez, who lived with his mother until he was recruited. Working here has transformed my life. So many things I used to ask my mother to do, I do myself. I didnt even know how to take a train by myself because Id just miss my stop. Since it opened in October 2017, Universo Santi continues to win plaudits for its cuisine.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Triple amputee doctor: Disability doesn't define you
2016-06-22, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/22/health/turning-points-kellie-lim/index.html

If you had asked me 20 years ago where I would be, I never would have imagined I would be a physician working at UCLA Health, one of the best medical centers in the country. For over 25 years, my physical disability threatened to define who I was and what others thought I could become. I contracted meningococcal disease at 8 years of age. The infection overwhelmed my body's defenses, and I became a triple amputee. The disease left me with just enough to survive and carry on: two full fingers of the left hand, the thumb and ring finger. The first few years were physically and emotionally grueling; I was in and out of the hospital for surgical procedures to make my lower limbs fit better into prosthetic legs. I couldn't walk for nearly three years. I grew so quickly, my prosthetic legs could not keep up. My father would give me piggyback rides from the car to our house. My mother, who became blind as a teen, learned how to help me dress and put on my prosthetic legs every morning for school. My younger brother, Tarring, would help bring things to me since my mobility was limited. And my older sister, Nellie, was and is my inspiration and role model. I have been extremely lucky to have a strong and resilient family. I was lucky to be in a place where I had great medical care and where I had a community of friends and schools that supported my recovery and believed in my ability to succeed despite my disability. But luck is only part of my success; it takes courage, determination, honesty and integrity to pursue your dreams.

Note: Dr. Kellie Lim, author of this article received her medical training from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. After getting her medical degree, she completed her residency in pediatrics before pursuing fellowship training in allergy & immunology and pharmacology. Today, she works as an allergist-immunologist at UCLA Health. Explore a treasure trove of summaries of news articles on incredibly inspiring disabled persons.


Blind To Failure
2001-06-18, Time Magazine (Cover story)
http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2047596-1,00.html

Scaling Everest requires the enthusiasm and boosterism of a physical-education teacher combined with the survival instinct of a Green Beret. You have to want that summit. Erik Weihenmayer, 33, wasn't just another yuppie trekker. Blind since he was 13 ... he began attacking mountains in his early 20s. For Erik ... excelling as an athlete was the result of accepting his disability rather than denying it." Climbing with Erik isn't that different from climbing with a sighted mountaineer. You wear a bell on your pack, and he follows the sound ... using his custom-made climbing poles to feel his way along the trail. His climbing partners shout out helpful descriptions: "Death fall 2 ft. to your right!" Almost 90% of Everest climbers fail to reach the summit. Many – at least 165 since 1953 – never come home at all. When Erik and the team began the final ascent from Camp 4 ... they had been on the mountain for two months ... getting used to the altitude and socking away enough equipment [before they made the final, successful] summit push. "He was the heart and soul of our team," says Eric Alexander. "The guy's spirit won't let you quit." It could be called the most successful Everest expedition ever, and not just because of Erik's participation. A record 19 climbers from the N.F.B. team summited, including the oldest man ever to climb Everest – 64-year-old Sherman Bull. Perhaps the point is really that there is no way to put what Erik has done in perspective because no one has ever done anything like it. It is a unique achievement, one that in the truest sense pushes the limits of what man is capable of.

Note: Don't miss the entire inspiring blind to failure story at the link above. And check out an awesome video highlighting many of Erik's wild adventures.


Autism Breakthrough: Girl's Writings Explain Her Behavior and Feelings
2008-02-19, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4311223&page=1

Carly Fleischmann has severe autism and is unable to speak a word. But ... this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough. Two years ago, working with pictures and symbols on a computer keyboard, she started typing and spelling out words. The computer became her voice. "All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her, and it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words," said speech pathologist Barbara Nash. Then Carly began opening up, describing what it was like to have autism. Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date. "We were stunned," Carly's father Arthur Fleischmann said. "We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. This ... opened up a whole new way of looking at her." This is what Carly wants people to know about autism. "It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk or I act differently than them. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them." Carly had another message for people who don't understand autism. "Autism is hard because you want to act one way, but you can't always do that. It's sad that sometimes people don't know that sometimes I can't stop myself and they get mad at me. If I could tell people one thing about autism it would be that I don't want to be this way. But I am, so don't be mad. Be understanding."

Note: Read an excellent follow-up article in which Carly answers readers questions about autism. For more, see this webpage.


Man born with no limbs is now a talented break dancer
2019-01-30, Metro.co.uk (One of the UK's most popular websites)
https://metro.co.uk/2019/01/30/man-born-with-no-limbs-is-now-a-talented-break...

19-year-old Gabe Adams was born with Hanhart syndrome, a rare medical condition characterised by underdeveloped limbs, mouth and jaw. In Gabes case, none of his limbs grew at all. At school Gabe tried out for the dance team as a way of making friends discovering he could use his limbless body to his advantage in the art of break dancing. After graduating from high school he has continued to prove his independence, moving out of the family home and embarking on a career as a motivational speaker. From a young age Gabe started using a wheelchair but his parents were determined that their son would be as independent as possible. At school Gabe would wedge a pencil or pen between his shoulder and cheek to write in class. The day of the dance tryouts they called us all in a line and they said, okay dancer remember to full out extensions and point your toes. What am I gonna point? My nose!? I am just standing there in front of the judges and then I see girls do the spins and I am like, I can do that, so I do the spins. The next day at school and I hear two girls talking behind me and they say: They are only gonna put him on the stage because he is handicappedand that crushed me. I ran to the dance coach and I said please do not put me on the team because you feel sorry for me, and she said: I would not put you or anybody else on the team because I felt sorry for them, you get a spot on this team because you deserved it. And that was just a huge opening moment for me.

Note: Don't miss the incredibly inspiring video at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Blind Jazz Sax Teacher Inspires Students to ‘Feel’ Their Instruments, Uses His Disability as Teaching Tool
2024-02-09, Good News Network
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/blind-jazz-sax-teacher-inspires-students-to-f...

From a Tampa performing arts conservatory comes the story of a blind jazz saxophonist who uses his disability as a teaching tool. He encourages his students to act on instinct; to feel the music through their instruments, and not let the waking world deceive them. “Welcome to every day of my life,” says Matthew Weihmuller in his jazz improvisation class after turning the lights off. “Then we have a big laugh,” he adds. When Weihmuller started playing, he needed braille sheet music, and pieces would take months; even years to learn. As if that weren’t difficult enough, few people in the country were capable of providing braille music, so he started “brailling” his own, with the help of his mom. “They can’t look at their instrument. Now, they have to feel their instrument with their fingers and hands, right?” Weihmuller told Fox 13. “Now, we’ve got to listen to the music. We can’t read it. It forces the students to use their other senses.” During improvisational sessions, a musician has to be ready for sudden changes in time signature or key. This is nearly impossible to express through sheet music. At least in this regard, the children are learning in the best way for this unorthodox, yet traditional form of jazz music. As an educator with blindness, Weihmuller stresses turning any disadvantage into an advantage, a teaching philosophy that has led some students to tell the man that he has changed the way they look at life.

Note: Read more inspiring news articles on the power of art. For more, explore our uplifting Inspiration Center, which focuses on solutions and the best of humanity and life.


The Surprising Role of Blind Women in India's Health Care System
2023-05-18, Reasons to be Cheerful
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/blind-women-detect-breast-cancer-india/

On a sunny March morning in Bengaluru, Ayesha Banu and Noorunnisa walk up to the stage of Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology. Their white canes folded and held aside, they speak to a packed hall of students and teachers about their work as Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs). "We assist doctors in detecting the early signs of breast cancer in women," Banu speaks into the mic. "Using the first two fingers of both hands, we examine women's breasts for abnormalities." She explains that blind women like herself and Noorunnisa are especially well-suited to this profession because of the "high tactile sense in our fingertips, which helps us find tiny lumps in the breast." Tactile breast examinations, or TBEs, are clinical breast examinations specially designed for blind women trained as MTEs. Employing MTEs for routine breast cancer screening – and reaching women in their communities and workplaces – could help in the early detection of cancer and save lives, says Dr. Poovamma CU, the breast specialist under whom Banu and Noorunnisa work. Studies prove that in the absence of sight, blind people's brains can develop a heightened sense of touch, as well as hearing. Through the MTE training, a woman with vision impairment is able to empower another woman, by offering her preventive health care. In a recent Indian study where two MTEs conducted TBEs on 1,338 women, their success rate of detecting malignant cancers was over 78 percent, and the miss rate, only one percent.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.


Teen's dolls are tailor-made for children with rare medical conditions
2020-08-21, MSN News
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/good-news/teen-s-dolls-are-tailor-made-for-chi...

When Encinitas, Calif., teenager Ariella Pacheco was a little girl, her parents let her choose from a catalog the American Girl doll that most appealed to her. She picked the one with the hair color and style that matched her own. But what about children with rare medical conditions who dont look like anyone else, including the mass-produced dolls on store shelves? Pacheco wanted to give these children the same gift she got as a child. So, over the past several months, she has designed and sewn cloth dolls for four local youth. I really value the beauty in the little things, Pacheco said. Each of these kids are so unique, so special. I hope through these dolls they can see themselves in a new light and really embrace their beauty. She ... designed her own patterns and figured out how to re-create the childrens differences. It was important to her that the children recognize themselves in the dolls but that their differences not be the most noticeable feature. I hope theyre really excited with them, Pacheco said. The whole time I was trying to put as much love into it as I could and hoped they represented each child faithfully. The inspiration for the four dolls are Felix, a 6-year-old boy with a large scar on his head from surgery for a skull fracture; Andrea, a 2-year-old with a port-wine stain birthmark on her face; Valeria, a toddler with Apert syndrome, which causes skull deformities, misshapen eyes and fused fingers; and Zulema Gillett, [who has] Goldenhar syndrome, which caused her to be born with a cleft lip, misaligned jaw, and only one ear.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Utah teen with no arms or legs inspiring classmates on high school dance team
2016-01-08, Fox News (Salt Lake City affiliate)
http://fox13now.com/2016/01/08/utah-teen-with-no-arms-or-legs-makes-davis-hig...

Seventeen-year-old Gabe Adams was born without arms and legs and suffers from a rare disease called hanhart syndrome, but that doesn't stop him from dancing. After spending most of his life in a wheelchair, he decided to join the dance team at Davis High School. During halftime at a basketball game Friday night, he performed in front of the whole school. Cheers rang out as Gabe put the word disability to shame. "I wanted to prove to myself and to others that theres more to myself than just a kid in a wheelchair," Adams said. With practices three days a week, which last for more than three hours, dance team is no easy commitment. However, teammate Alexis Delahunty says Gabe makes it seem easy. "I cant even imagine doing this without my arms and legs. It's so inspiring. Hes just amazing," Delahunty said. His dance teacher, Kim King, says Gabe has brought so much joy to the team and has pushed them all to work harder. "When they see him, they dont realize how hard it is to get dressed, how hard it is to get in and out of his chair, but Gabe does everything by himself," King said. Gabe's father, Ron Adams, said Gabe is always pushing himself and taking each challenge in stride. "I dont think everyone understands what it takes, the muscle coordination and development to balance when he doesnt have limbs," Ron Adams said. He may not realize it, but Gabe is constantly inspiring the people around him.

Note: Note: Don't miss the amazing video at the link above. For more on this most impressive teenager, see this story. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of news articles on incredibly inspiring disabled persons.


Magical Wheelchair Offers Unforgettable Halloween for Disabled Kids
2015-10-27, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/making-a-difference/magical-wheelchair-offers...

Most children want to dress up for Halloween, but for those confined to wheelchairs, it isnt always that simple. Ryan Weimer understands that concept better than most. When his oldest son, Keaton, was 3 years old, he told his dad he wanted to be a pirate for Halloween. Instead of simply dressing him up, Weimer spent months building Keaton - who lives with muscular dystrophy - a pirate ship made of wood, tablecloth sails and specially-crafted cannons, all fitted to his wheelchair. Keaton was ecstatic - and his dad never forgot the feeling. "When you know that you have few memories to make with your kids, you want to make priceless ones," Weimer told NBC News, "and epic ones." His second son, Bryce, also lives with muscular dystrophy. Over the years, their wheelchair costumes have gotten more elaborate and attracted more attention. And this year, the Weimer family project became a hugely successful non-profit, called Magic Wheelchair. Volunteers from around the country donated their time, talents and resources to create dream costumes for eight lucky children six from Weimers home state of Oregon and two from Georgia. "When we have challenges and trials and hard times, those are the things that define us," Weimer said. "It doesnt' matter your circumstances, you can still make beautiful things ... and it's great to see other people get behind that."

Note: Don't miss this very touching video on Magic Wheelchairs.


The Story Of Frank 'Bopsy' Salazar, Make-A-Wish's First Wish Kid, Will Stay With You Forever
2013-01-11, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/bopsy-fireman-make-a-wish_n_4181841....

In 1978, 5-year-old Frank "Bopsy" Salazar was diagnosed with leukemia. A woman named Linda Pauling ... had lost her 7-year-old son, Chris, to leukemia that spring. But before Chris passed, the Arizona Department of Public Safety had fulfilled the little boy's dream of becoming a police officer. DPS officers Jim Eaves and Frank Shankwitz had met Chris with a patrol car and motorcycle and made him the only honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer in the department's history. The incredible effort inspired Pauling and Shankwitz to start the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "[Pauling] told me that instead of letting the kids just feel sorry for themselves, they wanted to grant wishes, to do something every kid would benefit from, to fulfill their dream while they're still a part of this world," Trujillo said. Shankwitz took over from there, and he went to visit Bopsy to find out more about the boy's dreams. After learning that he'd be granted a wish, the 7-year-old mulled it over. "I want to ride in a hot air balloon," he told Shankwitz. Then he thought about it some more. "No, I want to go to Disneyland." He paused again. "No, I want to be a fireman." But Shankwitz didn't make him pick. All of Bopsy's wishes would be granted. He got his balloon ride and his trip to Disneyland. Fireman Bob - whose real name is Bob Walp - did more than was asked of him to help the sick boy. "We didn't want to just give him a tour," Walp [recalled]. "We decided to give him a badge and a jacket. We let him use the hose. We took him in the truck."

Note: For more on this inspiring story, see this webpage.


Lessons from the 'World's Ugliest Woman': 'Stop Staring and Start Learning'
2012-09-13, Yahoo!
https://web.archive.org/web/20120926012350/http://shine.yahoo.com/beauty/less...

When she was in high school, Lizzie Velasquez was dubbed "The World's Ugliest Woman" in an 8-second-long YouTube video. Born with a medical condition so rare that just two other people in the world are thought to have it, Velasquez has no adipose tissue and cannot create muscle, store energy, or gain weight. She has zero percent body fat and weighs just 60 pounds. In the comments on YouTube, viewers called her "it" and "monster" and encouraged her to kill herself. Instead, Velasquez set four goals: To become a motivational speaker, to publish a book, to graduate college, and to build a family and a career for herself. Now 23 years old, she's been a motivational speaker for seven years and has given more than 200 workshops on embracing uniqueness, dealing with bullies, and overcoming obstacles. She's a senior majoring in Communications at Texas State University in San Marcos, where she lives with her best friend. Her first book, Lizzie Beautiful, came out in 2010 and her second, Be Beautiful, Be You, was published earlier this month. She's even reclaimed YouTube, video blogging about everything from bullying to hair-styling tips to staying positive. Of course, the horrible comments left on that old YouTube video stung. "I'm human, and of course these things are going to hurt," she said. "Their judgments of me isn't who I am, and I'm not going to let these things define me. I didn't sink down to their level," she said in a follow-up video on YouTube last year. "Instead, I got my revenge through my accomplishments and determination. In the battle between the 'World's Ugliest Woman' video vs. me, I think I won."

Note: Though looking at this woman can be disturbing for some, consider that you can see beneath the surface to the beauty within. Watch Lizzie share some of her wisdom in a popular TEDx Talk at this link.


Blind, Wheelchair-Bound Student Doesn't Fail to Inspire
2006-11-10, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Story?id=2643340

When I met 18-year old Patrick Henry Hughes, I knew he was musically talented. I had been told so, had read that he was very able for someone his age and who had been blind and crippled since birth. Patrick's eyes are not functional; his body and legs are stunted. He is in a wheelchair. When we first shook hands, his fingers seemed entirely too thick to be nimble. So when he offered to play the piano for me and his father rolled his wheelchair up to the baby grand, I confess that I thought to myself, "Well, this will be sweet. He has overcome so much. How nice that he can play piano." But then Patrick put his hands to the keyboard, and his fingers began to race across it -- the entire span of it, his fingers moving up and back and over and across the keys so quickly and intricately that my fully-functional eyesight couldn't keep up with them. I was stunned. The music his hands drew from that piano was so lovely and lyrical and haunting, so rich and complex and beyond anything I had imagined he would play that there was nothing I could say. All I could do was listen. "God made me blind and didn't give me the ability to walk. I mean, big deal." Patrick said, smiling. "He gave me the talent to play piano and trumpet and all that good stuff." This is Patrick's philosophy in life, and he wants people to know it. "I'm the kind of person that's always going to fight till I win," he said. Patrick also attends the University of Louisville and plays trumpet in the marching band. The band director suggested it, and Patrick and his father, Patrick John Hughes, who have faced tougher challenges together, decided "Why not?" "Don't tell us we can't do something," Patrick's father added, with a chuckle. He looks at Patrick with a mixture of love and loyalty and admiration, something not always seen in the eyes of a father when he gazes at his son. "I've told him before. He's my hero."

Note: Foramazingly inspiring video clips of this unusual young musician on both Oprah and ESPN, click here and here.


Glenn Cunningham, 78, Premier Miler of 1930's
1988-03-11, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/1988/03/11/obituaries/glenn-cunningham-78-premier-mil...

Glenn Cunningham, a former world-record holder in the mile run who in 1979 was named the greatest track performer in the history of Madison Square Garden, died yesterday. He was 78 years old. That Mr. Cunningham could win 21 of 31 mile races on the indoor track at the Garden during his prime in the 1930's was impressive. More significantly, he did it after suffering life-threatening burns on both legs as a 7-year-old when a stove in a school classroom in Everetts, Kan., exploded, killing his older brother Floyd. After being told there was a strong possibility he would never walk again, he spent seven months in bed, and then received daily massages from his mother, who kneaded his damaged muscles and sped his way to walking, and then running. In high school, he played baseball and football and boxed and wrestled. At 13, he entered his first high school mile race and won easily. Using running as therapy for the burn injuries, he found that middle distances suited him. At a sophomore at the University of Kansas, Mr. Cunningham set an American record for the mile with a time of 4 minutes 11.1 seconds. He was selected as a member of the United States team for the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and finished fourth in the 1,500-meter run. In 1933 he won the Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. In his competitions at Madison Square Garden, Mr. Cunningham set six world records in the mile and the 1,500 meters and another at 1,000 yards.

Note: For more on the incredibly inspiring story of this great man, read this engaging article. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of news articles on incredibly inspiring disabled persons.


1977: Judith Heumann
2020-03-05, Time Magazine
https://time.com/5793652/judith-heumann-100-women-of-the-year/

Judith Heumann, who had polio as a baby and uses a wheelchair, started her activism early. After graduating from college, she applied for a teaching license but was rejected by the New York City board of education, which called her a fire hazard. Heumann sued for discrimination and won in a landmark case, becoming the first wheelchair user to teach in the citys schools. That victory put Heumann in the spotlight. She founded her own disability-rights group in 1970 and became an advocate for the independent-living movement. She successfully pushed Richard Nixon to sign the first federal civil rights legislation for disabled people. But when regulations for the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were stalled, Heumann helped organize more than 100 disabled activists to stage a sit-in, named for the laws section on disabilities, at a San Francisco federal building in 1977. The 504 Sit-in, which lasted 28 days, challenged the perception of people with disabilities as helpless or objects of pity. In Heumanns words: We demonstrated to the entire nation that disabled people could take control over our own lives and take leadership in the struggle for equality. The 504 Sit-in accomplished its goal, and those protections laid the groundwork for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Heumann, who served in the Education and State departments of the Clinton and Obama administrations, has continued to advance the rights of disabled people around the world.

Note: Listen to a BBC interview with this courageous, pioneering woman. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


She fell 150 feet off a cliff while fleeing an attacker. Three years later, she completed her second marathon
2019-11-06, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/06/us/nyc-marathon-runner-spinal-cord-injury-trnd...

Completing two marathons on crutches while partially paralyzed is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Three years after a spinal cord injury that left her without full mobility of her lower body, Hannah Gavios completed her second New York City Marathon - crossing the finish line on crutches in just over 11 hours, 18 minutes faster than last year. The sun had gone down by the time she reached the end of the 26.2-mile course. But achieving that milestone yet another time was a powerful reminder of everything she had overcome. In 2016, Gavios took a vacation to Thailand from her job teaching English in Vietnam. On her way back to her hotel one night, she feared she had gotten lost and asked for directions. But the person who had been guiding her ended up leading her to a dark, wooded area and attacked her, Gavios told CNN. While running away from her attacker, she fell off a cliff, tumbling 150 feet. The fall left her with a spinal cord injury that has affected muscles in her lower body. But it hasn't stopped her from living her life to the fullest. "I always knew I was a strong person," the 26-year-old Queens, New York, resident said. "But I didn't know I was that strong. I also didn't realize how much of a fighter I was." Then she learned about Amanda Sullivan, who had been completing marathons on crutches after an auto accident left her disabled. If someone with a similar condition could finish a marathon, Gavios thought to herself, then she could, too.

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'Always Seen With a Smile': Dad With No Arms or Legs Raises Two Girls After Their Mom Abandons Them
2023-05-08, Epoch Times
https://www.theepochtimes.com/bright/always-seen-with-a-smile-dad-with-no-arm...

A Paraguayan father of two with no arms or legs found the strength and determination to raise both his girls, despite his limitations, when their mother abandoned them. Pablo Acuña was born with a limb deformity, causing his arms and legs to not grow properly. Yet he's a happy, grateful man who lives in the city of Son Pedro del Parana, Paraguay. At 63 years old, he's a proud father of two daughters in their twenties, whom he has raised since they were babies with the help of his mother, Ignacia del Valle. Although Pablo has suffered from his condition since his birth, he said it has never affected him. Apart from not being able to attend high school and having his parents take care of him, he had a pretty normal childhood. His youngest daughter, Elida, 26, sings his praises for providing a "very nice" childhood despite him not having arms and legs. "I was raised by my dad and grandmother," Elida said. "My dad is incredible. He is a very wonderful person, he is always seen with a smile; never have I seen him depressed." Since Pablo cannot walk, he has used a wooden wheelbarrow as a sitting and sleeping platform for decades. He is known locally as "El Hombre Carretilla," or "The Wheelbarrow Man." According to Elida, Pablo's greatest wish is to own his home. Elida [said] that her family, who "lives for rent," is desperately saving to this end. Since her grandmother turned 93, Elida has returned to the family home ... to help take care of her father.

Note: After reading this article, one man spearheaded a campaign which enabled this amazing dad to buy his own home. Explore more stories like this in our inspiring disabled persons articles archive.


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