The world is filled with many unsung and unknown heroes. Heroes can come from all walks of life, be any gender, any age and any from culture. A hero is someone who makes a positive difference in the lives of others while seeking no reward for doing so.
I would like to introduce you to some heroes who are differently abled, and tell you about their accomplishments while facing discrimination, and overcoming personal struggles for what others feel are their limitations. The following people show how every person has something worthwhile to contribute to this world, and spread the hope that one day, everybody's contribution will be recognized.
Terry Fox Born: July 28, 1958
Died: June 28, 1981
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Terry Fox was a young athletic university student when he was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer. After having his left leg amputated above his knee, Terry Fox decided to run a "marathon of hope" to raise money for cancer research. Terry Fox ran 26 miles a day and covered 6 provinces before finally succumbing to his disease. His legacy will live on forever.
Nick Vujicic Born: 1982 in Melbourne, Australia
For absolutley no medical reason, Nick was born with no arms or legs. After school Nick went on with further study and obtained a double bachelor degree majoring in accounting and financial planning. By the age of 19, Nick had started to fulfill his dream of encouraging others by sharing his story through motivational speaking.
In 1962, Dick Hoyt became a proud father to his son, Rick. However, due to lack of oxygen during his birth, Rick was born a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Despite meical advice to institutionalize their son, Dick and his wife Judy would not give up on Rick and they believed that their son was a smart boy with a lot to give. Dick and Judy began a life long campaign to ensure Rick's inclusion in community, sports, education and one day, the workplace. When Rick was finally able to communicate with his parents, via techmology, he let them know of his desire to run. In 1977, Team Hoyt was founded with Dick pushing, pulling and carrying his son in over 1000 races, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being Ironman competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days.
Sam Sullivan Born 1959
Former mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan was born in 1959 in East Vancouver, Canada. At the age of 19, a tragic skiing accident left him almost completely paralyzed. He has no use of his fingers or triceps, but has some limited use of shoulders, biceps and wrists. Sullivan can write notes, use the telephone pressing buttons with his knuckle, and drive specially outfitted vehicles. After a seven year struggle with depression, he successfully completed a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Simon Fraser University. Sam went on to found six non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for disabled people in North America. He is also known for his advocacy on behalf of the physically disabled. In 2005, Sullivan was invested as a member of the Order of Canada by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
Rick Hansen Born: 26 August 1957
Following a car crash at the age of 15, Rick sustained a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the waist down. Now, he is a Canadian paralympian, and an activist for people with spinal cord injuries.
Born: Sept 25, 1952 Died: Oct 10, 2004
Best known as his role of Superman in the movies, Christopher Reeve had a promising acting career. A passion for horses led to a near fatal accident in May of 1995. The accident left Christopher fully paralyzed from the neck down. Christopher began to use the international interest in his situation to increase public awareness about spinal cord injury and to raise money for research into a cure.
Rick Hoyt Born 1962
Rick Hoyt was born a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy due to oxygen deficiency during his birth. In his life of silence, Rick was unable to communicate his desires to his parents until 1977, when technology was devised to enable Rick to talk through a computer screen, keyboard and a pad attached beside his head on his wheelchair. Rick wanted to run, because during those moments, he felt free and not wheelchair bound. Rick wanted to participate in an informal five-mile fund-raiser for a college kid who'd been paralyzed by a collision during a lacrosse match. His goal was to show the paralyzed boy that his life could continue and be worthwhile depite being in a wheelchair. That race was the start of an incredible journey shared by father, son and the world. With his father pushing, pulling and carrying him, Rick has participated in over 1000 races. Each race proved to the world that differently abled does not mean unabled.