Posted in disability heroes, Disability sterotypes

“Like I was defective or something…”

Shaquem Griffin does not think of himself as an inspiring figure. He just wants to play football like his twin brother. The main differnce between them is unlike his brother, Shaquem has only one hand.

Shaquem was born with a birth defect that necessitated his hand being amputated when he was four years old. This did not stop him from doing what he wanted to do, which was play football. It also didn’t deter him when a coach from an opposing team told him, “You need two hands to play football.”

“It was like I was defective or something,” Shaquem said of that comment. But he shrugged it off and kept playing.

And now he is playing on the Seattle Seahawks. As Frank Bruni of the New York Times says below:

“In this rancorous country, we’re buffeted more than usual by reminders of humanity at its worst. Griffin is a glimpse of us at our best — of our ability to reframe hardship as challenge, tap extraordinary reserves of determination and achieve not just success but grace.’


Posted in disability heroes, Hilary Lister, sailing with disabilities

Hilary Lister, first person with quadriplegia to sail the English Channel, is dead at 46 years old.

Hilary Lister was physically active as a youth, but a neurological disease left her paralyzed from the neck down. It also caused her to have considerable chronic pain.

However, when a friend introduced her to sailing, she realized that the water was where she could move and feel free.

But that wasn’t enough for her. She decided to sail the English Channel (alone), the first person with quadriplegia to accomplish that.

Ms. Lister had other sailing accomplishments, but perhaps the most meaningful is the foundation she set up, to help other people with disabilities discover the joy of sailing.

That is clearly an example of walking your talk,and also leaving the world better than she found it.

See the article below for more information about Ms. Lister and her foundation.