Success Stories

1. A Blessing in Disguise: A Sudha Chandran’s Story    


A renowned classical dancer and actress from Chennai, South India, Sudha Chandran, did not let her disability stop her from doing her passion. Sudha shared her inspiring story on how losing her right foot turned out to be a “blessing in disguise”.

Chandran started to learn dancing at the age of 3 and had been attending dance classes growing up. After acing her exams on her 10th metric, she decided to study arts just so she can still do dancing. She already had done hundreds of stage shows. Just as when she was doing great both in school and in dancing, life took a sudden unexpected turn.

On one of her return trips from Mumbai, where she studied her Masters, to Chennai, she met with a tragic accident that left her with some cuts and fractures. Due to the lack of attention to the cuts on her right ankle, it then resulted to gangrene in her foot. And because of the fear of getting it spread all over her body, her parents made a tough decision to have her foot amputated.

Though the thought that she won’t be able to dance again was devastating, she started to overcome the loss of her leg by slowly learning how to walk straight again. She was given an artificial leg or the “Jaipur Leg” and took her 3 years of physiotherapy to recover.

After a slow and painful process, Sudha realized dancing is what she really wanted and that she was ready to perform again. She braved her disability and fought her way to her dreams. A sold out show entitled “Loses a Foot, Walks a Mile”,  her first performance after the incident turned out to be her performance of a lifetime! This led her to her first acting career in a film, “Nache Mayuri” which was based on her story.  And a lot more opportunities after that!

“…even if I didn't see it then, He was with me all along and that's the irony of life-- that an accident so fatal, can still be a blessing in disguise."

2. Against All Odds - Girish Sharma’s Story


Lost one leg in a train accident when he was 2 years old, Girish Sharma, has beat all odds to be a badminton champion. He has inspired many to go for their dreams and achieve their goals no matter what your circumstances are.

We could imagine how difficult it may feel to have only one leg, the thought is shattering. But for a person from Rajastahan, Girish, his condition was never a hindrance to achieve his goals in life. Anyone will be in awe of his fighting spirit! From riding a bicycle in a heavy traffic to winning a badminton competition, he can do all these with ease!

"When I was a child, I used to play Cricket, Football, Badminton with normal children of my age. My disability was nowhere near in my mind. I enjoyed those games as much as a normal person does.", Girish says in an interview.

After giving up his dream of becoming a Policeman, Girish was still hopeful that there is still something in store for him. In was in 2004, when he learned playing badminton and trained his way to an international competition. In fact, in his interview with Afternoon Despatch and Courier, he shared that he once worked as a postman delivering couriers, earning one rupee per mail. He saved his earnings to buy his very first badminton rocket, which for him is his lucky charm that he still using his plays.

Girish thorough training combined with his determination led him to rank No. 2 in India in both singles and doubles categories for physically-challenged athletes. He also won a gold medal in ParaOlympic Asia Cup for Disabled and represented India in other countries like Israel, Thailand and Germany.

Unfortunately, after all the recognitions he brought for the country, the government doesn’t seem to recognize him. Girish Sharma had to bear all the expenses needed to join the competition. But despite of the unfortunate circumstances, Sharma’s determination to fulfill his goals is still strong. And he will continue to do his passion against all odds. 

3. Life Without Limits: A Nick Vujicic's Story


Born with no limbs, Nick Vujicic, 34, is a successful motivational speaker who had shared his stories to over 400 million people in 57 countries.

The President of Attitude is Altitude, Nick, was born with tetra-amelia disorder which is characterized by the absence of arms and legs. He has two small feet and he uses one on his left hip to hold an object, operate a wheelchair and kick a ball. Despite of having no limbs, Nick can swim, surf and play golf! 

“You may lack limbs, but don't let that define what you can or can't do.” – Nick’s father’s advice to him.

Growing up in Australia, Nick strived to live a normal life and studied in a mainstream school which for him was the best decision his parents made for him. He graduated from Griffith University at the age of 21 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a double major in accountancy and financial planning.

Surely, it was not an easy ride. He got bullied and got depressed that he even attempted suicide when he was 10 years old. In due course, Nick has overcome his set-back and started adopting a positive attitude.

At 17, he then finally followed what the 61-year-old janitor from India told him to do –to be a speaker and tell his life stories. That was when his public speaking engagement has started. From speaking to eight students at lunch to speaking with 10,000 people in stadiums worldwide!

He has founded Life Without Limbs, a non-profit organization which mission is to share how God changes his life forever. Nick is also the author of Life Without Limits, Unstoppable (a New York Times best-seller), Limitless, Stand Strong and Love Without Limits. His books have been translated into over 30 different languages and have sold more than a million copies internationally.

"I don't believe that I am disabled. Yes, I have no arms and no legs but big deal. Does not matter how I look. It's who I am and what I do." - Nick

He is happily married to Kanae Miyahara and a proud father of two sons.

4.Success Story: Stephen Hawking

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Stephen William Hawking, diagnosed with a motor neuron disease, is now a famous theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author of The Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell, among others.

Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England. At an early age, Hawking showed a passion for science and the sky, and was recognized as an exceptional student. In 1962, he graduated with honors in natural science and went on to attend Trinity Hall at Cambridge University for a PhD in cosmology.

Hawking first began to notice problems with his physical health while he was at Oxford—on occasion he would trip and fall, or slur his speech—he didn't look into the problem until 1963. For the most part, Hawking had kept these symptoms to himself. But when his father took notice of the condition, he took Hawking to see a doctor to undergo in a series of test.

Stephen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of 21, the disease that causes the death of neurons which control the voluntary muscles. That time, he was given 2 years to live. Yet he fought his illness and went to Cambridge to become a researcher. From 1979 – 2009, Hawking has held a post as a Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, the chair once held by Isaac Newton. Since then, he is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein.

Despite his debilitating disease and being dependent on a computerized voice system for communication, Stephen manages to combine family life (he has three children and three grandchildren) and his research. He has also done groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology, and his several books have helped to make science accessible to everyone -- among those are A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, The Grand Design and My Brief History. Part of his life story was depicted in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything.

"Disability need not be an obstacle to success. I have had motor neuron disease for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a prominent career in astrophysics and a happy family life."

Fifty-seven years later after given 2 years to live, Hawking surprisingly outlived  his disease and is now few steps away to his biggest dream -- travel into space!