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Changing perspectives

Stevie Wonder playing the piano

It is a sad fact of life that disabilities occur. There seems to be no method to who is hit by such conditions and when. Although modern medicine is improving all the time, people can sometimes never recover from their disability.

This said, there are certain individuals who have simply not allowed their condition to stop them from achieving their goals. Although these people clearly have immense talent as well as bucket loads of sheer grit and determination, their stories are a fantastic reminder to anyone that disabilities do not have to mean the end of your dreams.

In this article the Premier Care team have highlighted just a few of the many inspirational disabled people and discussed just how their perspective on life and their disability meant that their condition has simply been a sub-plot to their life.

Stevie Wonder

One of the most famous musicians of all time is first up in our inspirational people. The Detroit born singer, songwriter and keyboard aficionado, known first as Little Stevie Wonder, has become arguable the finest solo musician of all time and didn’t let his blindness affect his ability to wow crowds with his performances.

At the age of 65, Stevie is still going strong and even headlines huge festivals such as Glastonbury, often standing on his seat unaided; really emphasising this man’s sheer talent. If you are looking for inspiring disability figures then they don’t come much bigger and much better than Stevie Wonder and he is showing no signs of slowing down in his old age either.

Stephen Hawking

Given that this gentleman devised the theory of relativity, Stephen Hawking could not be left out of Premier Bathrooms’ list of inspirational disability advocates. Arguably the most intelligent man to have ever set foot on the planet, this guy has more letters after his name than most of us can read and is another who is still going strong despite being well into his seventies.

Many of you will have seen Eddie Redmayne playing Stephen Hawking quite beautifully in the Theory of Everything, but even the cinematic masterpiece really skims over some of this man’s achievements. Hawking has changed the world forever despite being diagnosed with an extremely rare and slow progressing form of ALS or amyotrophic sclerosis. This is motor neuron disease to anyone without a degree in medicine.

Despite being in a wheelchair and unable to speak unaided, Stephen Hawking’s brain has remained as effective as ever and pushed the boundaries of science to this day, really showing that whatever your disability, you can still do what you love and make a change.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven’s story is quite remarkable. As impressive as it is that Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles continued to make music despite being blind, perhaps the world’s greatest composer actually wrote some of his most impressive works when completely deaf!

Really underlining Beethoven’s intricate understanding of music and his ability to create beautiful, complex music at will, he did not allow the fact that he could not hear a thing to stop him remaining one of the finest musicians the planet has seen some two hundred years after he was born.

With 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 32 piano sonatas, a violin concerto and 16 string quartets under his belt by the time he passed away in Vienna in 1827, many of which created when he was either partially or completely deaf, Beethoven is surely one of the most inspiring disabled figures one can think of and is likely to be until the end of time.

John Milton

So, we have had musicians and scientists, but now we turn our attention to the poet and letter writer John Milton. Not many people know this but Milton actually wrote one of the most famous poems ever written, Paradise Lost, when completely blind.

Milton was alive at a time when medicine was limited and disabled individuals found it very difficult indeed to incorporate themselves into everyday life, but this was not the case for this man. He not only penned the aforementioned poem to worldwide acclaim, but also acted as a civil servant for Oliver Cromwell who was effectively the King of England at the time.

John Milton was a genius and did not allow his inability to see, hold him back from writing a myriad of materials in English, Greek, Latin and even Italian. Given the time period, Milton is surely a contender for one of the most inspirational disability advocates ever.

He has been described as the greatest English author by many and lived until his mid-sixties, well above the average at the time. An impressive man to say the least.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson

Not forgetting the women, of which there are many who have lived their life with a positive perspective despite their disability and inspired many. But, keeping it close to home we have decided to opt for Paralympian and TV personality Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Grey-Thompson was born with spina bifida but has gone on to be regarded as one of the most successful disabled athletes the UK has ever seen. In addition to this, she has gone on to enjoy an incredibly successful career in politics and was made a life peer; now a member of the House of Lords.

After a grueling career in athletics, no one would have blamed Grey-Thompson for enjoying her retirement but she has shown that a disability doesn’t have to stop you from any career, even one that gets you into the House of Lords and in a position to make huge decisions for the good of the world. For this reason we think Tanni Grey-Thompson is a very befitting final addition to the Premier Bathrooms list of inspirational disability advocates.

*image credits
By Salty1412, via Wikimedia Commons