When you’re out there in the world as a young person with cerebral palsy, it might be difficult to see others like yourself who have made their own way in the world and been successful. However, the truth is that there are more adults with cerebral palsy that can be called a “success story” than you might imagine, and it all starts with developing social skills, gaining confidence, and doing what you love. While many of the individuals on this list are well-known because they are considered celebrities, either due to their acting credits or social media fame, they are living and visible proof of disability success stories. Do not allow your disability to hold you back from making your own success, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe making other friends with cerebral palsy or other developmental disabilities is your only goal, but perhaps it is merely a stepping stone toward creating a more independent and meaningful life.
Well-Known Celebrities with Cerebral Palsy
One young actor who has used his experience in Hollywood to help others who also have cerebral palsy is RJ Mitte, who played the role of Walter White, Jr. on the famous television program “Breaking Bad.” The actor works with a number of disability charities, including I AM PWD, which is the Inclusion in the Arts and Media of Performers with Disabilities organization. The goal of I AM PWD is to increase the number of opportunities for actors with disabilities.
Another young person who used her success as a way to help others is Abbey Nicole Curran, who made history when she became a contestant in the Miss USA pageant in 2008. Representing the State of Iowa, Abbey was the first contestant with a disability. She founded the “Miss You Can Do It” Pageant in 2004 for young girls with special needs. The event is still held each year and was featured in an HBO Documentary in 2013, showcasing the positive impact that it has had on girls with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
What about being a race car driver? Nicolas Hamilton is a British race car river and half-brother of the racing star Lewis Hamilton. He has not let his type of spastic cerebral palsy, which affects the lower half of the body, stop him from competing. His passion for racing won out, and he uses a modified race car to compete. He credits a decision that he made early on in life as a young man as the strength that pushed him to go for his dreams and become a competitive race car driver. He frequently speaks about the importance of having support and how his brother helped him with bullying and self-esteem growing up.
Others Paving the Way for Greatness
Disability success stories show us that cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities do not need to hold you back. If there is something that you want to do – go out and do it. Do you want to get into comedy? There are quite a few comedians with cerebral palsy, including Maysoon Zayid, who performs regularly at comedy festivals and has appeared on television, Geri Jewell, who starred in NBC’s “The Facts of Life” and HBO’s “Deadwood,” and Josh Blue, the winner of season four of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” These individuals use their success to help other young people and adults with cerebral palsy by helping to bring awareness to the truth that people with disabilities can make a positive impact in our world.
Do you want to be an athlete? Read the story of Bonner Paddock in his memoir, One More Step, who was the first person with cerebral palsy to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted. He is also the founder of the OM Foundation, which raises money to build early-learning centers for children with disabilities. Justin Gallegos is the first runner with cerebral palsy to sign a contract with Nike. He now participates in half-marathons and is working toward moving up to the marathon competition. When you look around, there are journalists, artists, writers, athletes, actors, comedians, race car drivers, beauty queens, activities, and many other success stories of adults with cerebral palsy. If you would like to take the first steps toward finding your own success and making your own way, contact All Friends Network. We offer resources and planned group activities for our members, including developing social skills, meeting and making new friends, and exploring real-life activities and events. Call today at 941-587-7172 to join or learn more about our social network and interactive app, exclusively for members.