Inspirational People

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Jane Susan Campbell, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, DBE (born 19 April 1959) is a Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). She also serves as Chair of the Disability Committee which will lead on the EHRC Disability Programme. She was the former Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). She was Commissioner of the Disability Rights Commission until it was wound up in October 2007. At the age of nine months Campbell did not have the strength in her neck muscles to hold her head up, and exhibited little movement by the age of one year. Her mother consulted the family doctor who referred her to the local Kingston Hospital. She was subsequently referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital. There she was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy and given a prognosis that she would not live to reach the age of two years. However, it was her younger sister, Sally, who died of the same disease before that age. As a child, Jane was prone to getting severe chest infections, which occurred two or three times per year, sometimes requiring hospitalisation. Due to her physical weakness, Campbell requires help to do almost everything, and needs a ventilator to help her breathe at night. She uses an electrically powered wheelchair and has a computer on which she types with one finger. She receives a direct payment from the local authority for her care needs, which enables her to employ five female carers to help her with the routine activities of daily living.

Carys Davina "Tanni" Grey-Thompson, Baroness Grey-Thompson, DBE (born 26 July 1969 in Cardiff, Wales) is a Welsh former wheelchair racer and currently is a parliamentarian and television presenter. Baroness Grey-Thompson was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. She is considered to be one of the most successful disabled athletes in the UK. She graduated from Loughborough University in 1991 with a BA (Hons) degree in Politics and Social Administration.

Mat Fraser (born 1962) is an English rock musician, actor and performance artist. Between 1980 and 1995 he was a drummer with several rock bands including Fear of Sex, The Reasonable Strollers, Joyride, The Grateful Dub, and Living in Texas, who had a No 1 single in Italy. Fraser was born with phocomelia of both arms, due to his mother being prescribed thalidomide during her pregnancy. As a live artist he was a member of the performance art group The DHSS in the early 1990s. Fraser married Julie Atlas Muz, also a performer, on May 16, 2012, in New York City.

Eleanor Simmonds (born 11 November 1994): Ellie became one of Britain’s most successful Paralympians at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games where aged just 13, she brought home two gold medals in 100m and 400m Freestyle swimming. These achievements made her the youngest ever Briton to win an individual gold medal at a Paralympic Games.

Ellie began swimming with her local club at the age of five. She made her international debut at the 2006 International Paralympic Committee World Championships in South Africa. She won another two golds in at the London Paralympics, including setting a World Record in the 400m freestyle

In 2008 Ellie won the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award and in 2009 became the youngest ever person to be awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Paralympian and GB Rowing Team member David Smith, 33, who has a club foot, underwent life-saving surgery in 2010 to remove a tumour from his neck. After complications set in, he was unable to move anything other than his right arm. But within a year, guided by his coach Mary McLachlan, he made an astonishing recovery to win gold at the World Rowing Championships in Slovenia in 2011. He also won gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Ludwig Guttmann, a talented neurologist, arrived at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1944 and transformed its Spinal Injuries Unit into a place of hope, independence and determination. Rejecting the general view that paralysis was a terminal condition, Guttmann threw out the old care regime and brought in a new philosophy - to get all his patients to live full and useful lives. Sport was his big idea and he used it to help build physical strength as well as self-respect amongst the many injured soldiers returning from the war.

On 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr.Guttmann organized the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in Archery. In 1952, Dutch ex-servicemen joined the Movement and the International Stoke Mandeville Games were founded. These Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then they have taken place every four years.

  • Obviously, these are just a few of the very determined disabled people who have achieved real status. There are many more - too many to mention here.

Inspirational Resized