Famous Disabled People and Their Achievements

Author: Sherry Helms

All humans experience trials and tribulations or hardships in their lives, whether minor or major. The thing that defines their personalities and characters is the way they face and respond to these hardships. There are some valiant people, who set high standards of achievements despite being physically disabled. These brave and heroic people have surprised the world with their strong will power and courage and never let their disabilities come in the path of glory. With their determination, the lives of these outstanding personalities became a triumph over crushing adversity and devastating affliction.

Below, we have collected a list of some of such personalities who made a difference to the world with their incredible stories and amazing talent.


John MiltonJohn Milton Helen_KellerAHelen Keller John NashJohn Nash Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking Jean Domnique BaubyJean Domnique Bauby

John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674)


John Milton

One of the greatest English poets of all time and the most powerful political thinkers- John Milton is recognized in the world of literature for his masterpiece “Paradise Lost”. Being a civil servant, he spent most of his time working on theology, political philosophy and history that have always been reflected in his writings. Though, he became blind at the age of 43, which is more likely due to bilateral retinal detachment or glaucoma, he did not stop writing poems. And the fact that makes him one of the most appreciable disabled persons of the world is his finest works of poetry during his blindness. He is renowned all around the world for his greatest works “Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained”, “Samson Agonistes”, and “Aeropagitica”.” His works had a tremendous impact on the Romantic Movement in English Literature, and that is why his fellow poet William Wordsworth used to refer him as one of the pioneers of English Revolution.


Helen Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968)


Helen Adams Keller is one of the most inspiring deaf and blind women who became the famous activist. She was born a normal child, but lost her sense of vision, hearing and speaking at the age of 18 months when an unidentified disease struck her. She made a difference by proving the people anything can be achieved in life with sheer determination. She was first deaf-blind person who earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from college and became a prolific author, academic, social and political activist. She also penned down 12 books, including her autobiography, The Story of My Life that was used as the basis for 1957 three-act teleplay The Miracle Worker. Despite of her disability, she traveled all over the world and daringly raised her voice for the education of the differently abled people and for the importance of equality and women upliftment.


John Forbes Nash (born June 13, 1928)

John Nash

John Forbes Nash, is an American Mathematician who gave diverse and extraordinary contributions not only to game theory winner, for which he rewarded the Nobel Prize, but to pure mathematics–from differential geometry and partial differential equations. In 1959, he started showing symptoms of extreme paranoia and his wife later explained that he started behaving erratically. In the same year, he was admitted to McLean Hospital for the treatment of paranoid schizophrenia. After recovering from his unexpected behavior, he became more successful due to his work and received numerous awards and recognition. For his discovery of non-cooperative equilibria in 1978, which is now named as Nash equilibria, he won John von Neumann Theory Prize. He is lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University where he teaches Chemical engineering, chemistry and mathematics. Sylvia Nasar’s book, A Beautiful Mind, which was adapted into an Academy Award winning movie, was loosely based on his biography.


Stephen Hawking (born 8 January 1942)

Stephen Hawking

Born in the year 1942 in England, Cosmologist Stephen Hawking is considered as one of the most famous theoretical physicists after Albert Einstein. His discoveries on the beginning and evolution of universe, from the Big Bang to black holes, have revolutionized the field, while his best-selling books and public appearances have made him a scholastic icon. He received the highest civilian award in the United States and was rewarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In the early 1963, a few years after his 21st birthday, he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). This is such a dangerous in disease in which certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord gradually die. Doctors expected that he would only survive for two or three years. He is almost completely paralyzed and communicates through a machine device known as Speech Generating Device (SGDs). Yet Hawking defied the odds, not only attaining success as a bestselling author but also creating new roads into the formation of the universe in the decades since. His “A Brief History of Time” that was published in 1988 topped the charts and stayed on the British Sunday Times bestsellers list for more than 4 years.


Jean-Dominique Bauby (April 23 1952 – March 9, 1997)

Jean Domnique Bauby

Jean-Dominique Bauby, famous French journalist, and author of several books and Editor-in-Chief of French Elle Magazine suffered from a massive stroke at the age of 43 causing him to go into a coma for twenty days. After waking up from a coma, he found himself afflicted with a very rare neurological disorder called Locked-in syndrome that made him paralyzed from head to foot wherein the mental state remained intact. After this stroke, he found that he could only blink his left eyelid. Despite this pathetic condition, he wrote the book ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ by blinking his left eye when a person reciting the alphabetical letters reached at the correct letter. Bauby died just two days after the publication of his book in France on 7 March 1997.

These are few of those great personalities whose life stories touch the heart and soul of every human being. This piece is just for paying heartily tribute and saying thanks to all the valiant people for the marvelous contributions they make to the world.

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