Inspirational People…………

Tom Whittaker – (born 1949) is the first disabled person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. In 1981 he founded the Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group (C.W.HOG) in Pocatello, Idaho. While living in Idaho, he was active in the southeast Idaho climbing community. On May 27, 1998, on his third attempt, Whittaker reached the summit of Mt. Everest, a lifelong dream, making him the first person with a disability to accomplish this feat. Whittaker’s current quest is to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents. Whittaker’s right foot needed to be amputated following a car accident in 1979. Following this serious accident, he regained his strength and continued climbing. Through training, his prosthetic foot became an advantage to climbing rather than a disadvantage. Checkout his full story at

Rick Allen – Richard John Cyril “Rick” Allen (born November 1, 1963, Dronfield, Derbyshire, England) is the drummer for the British rock band Def Leppard. He is famous for having overcome the complete amputation of his left arm to continue playing with the band, which subsequently went on to its greatest popular success. On December 31, 1984, on the way to a New Year’s Eve party at his family’s home in Sheffield, England, 21-year-old Allen was driving his Corvette when an Alfa Romeo passed him. The driver had been egging Allen on and would not allow him to pass. In his rage to pass this driver, he did not see a turn up ahead and lost control of his car, which sailed over a stone wall and into a field. He was thrown from the car, with his left arm severed due to the seatbelt not being properly fastened. The car ended up upside down, with his girlfriend Miriam Barendsen secure in her seat. She was not seriously injured, and found Allen in the field. They were helped by a passerby, who was a nurse, and Allen was taken to a hospital. Doctors initially reattached Allen’s arm, but due to infection it was removed again. He left the hospital three and a half weeks later and was back with Def Leppard in the Netherlands two weeks after getting out of the hospital.

Brett Smrz – In 2007, Brett began racing in the SCCA San Francisco Region Formula Ford 1600 series, winning his first race at Infineon raceway. The following weekend would change Brett’s life forever, as an off track accident resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee. After ten surgeries and months of physical therapy, Brett returned to racing.

Amy Winters – Winters, a welder and mother of two, lost her leg following a 1994 motorcycle accident. Amy Winters, a transtibial amputee from Meadville, Pennsylvania, finished the Cleveland Marathon in 3:26:19, knocking more than 27 minutes off the previous best time for a female amputee. The world record comes only three months after Winters received her first running prosthesis from A Step Ahead Prosthetics, Hicksville, New York, which specializes in the treatment of young, active, elite amputee athletes from around the world.

Jessica Cox – Recognized around the world as an inspirational keynote speaker. Born without arms, Jessica flies planes, drives cars, and otherwise lives a normal life using her feet as others use their hands. Today Jessica holds the titles of the first person without arms in the American Tae Kwon-Do Association to get a black belt, and the first woman pilot in aviation history to fly using her feet. Check out more at

Aron Lee Ralston (born October 27, 1975) is an American mountain climber who became famous in May 2003 when he was forced to amputate his lower right arm with a dull knife in order to free himself after his arm became trapped by a boulder.

Ralston documented his experience in a book titled Between a Rock and a Hard Place. While he was on a canyoneering trip in Blue John Canyon (near Moab, Utah), a boulder fell and pinned his right forearm, crushing it. After five days of trying to lift and break the boulder, a dehydrated and delirious Ralston bowed his arm against a chockstone and snapped the radius and ulna bones. Using the dull blade on his multiuse tool, he cut the soft tissue around the break. He then used the tool’s pliers to tear at the tougher tendons.

Glenn Malmskog – Stuntman, Stunt Coordinator, Fight Coordinator, Explosives Technician. William Glenn Malmskog, a below-knee amputee and firefighter, stuntman, and personal trainer. With over twenty years experience in Hollywood, Glenn has fallen from more heights, fought with more swords and rigged more explosions than any amputee in North America. When Arrowbear Fire Department hired Glenn Malmskog little did they realize they would be making history. According to State Fire Marshal records, Mr. Malmskog is the first amputee full duty City Firefighter in the history of California.

Alex Zanardi – Alessandro “Alex” Zanardi (born October 23, 1966 in Bologna, Italy) is an Italian racing driver. He won two CART championship titles in North America during the late 1990s. He also had a less successful career as a Formula One driver. More recently, he has attracted widespread praise for his return to competition in the aftermath of a crash in 2001 that resulted in the amputation of his legs. The crash occurred while Zanardi was leading the race in the closing laps. After a late pit stop, Zanardi was attempting to merge back onto the track when he accelerated abruptly and spun into the path of Alex Tagliani, who was travelling at over 330 km/h (205 mph).

Bethany Hamilton – Bethany Meilani Hamilton (born February 8, 1990) is an American surfer. She is known for surviving a shark attack in which she lost her left arm, and for overcoming the serious and debilitating injury to return to surfing. On October 31, 2003, Hamilton went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai. Around 7:10 a.m., she was lying sideways on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a tiger shark attacked her, ripping her left arm off just below the shoulder. Just eight weeks after the incident, she returned to her board and went surfing again. In July of 2004 Hamilton won the ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete of the Year. She was presented with a special courage award at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards. Hamilton still aspires to become a professional surfer.


Posted on December 20, 2011, in Disability Related Links and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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