Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that causes disability in human development. CP affects the area of the brain for movement and occurs in around 2 per 1000 births. With no known cure, CP can be a burden on people with the disorder, but most live very happy, full lives. Today, we’d like to mention some of the many famous people who have triumphed beyond cerebral palsy and become well-known celebrities.
- Actors with CP have been more popular than ever, and even star in some of the biggest shows in television. RJ Mitte was best known for his role as Walter White Jr. on the hit AMC television series, Breaking Bad. Mitte suffers from a mild case of cerebral palsy, and his talent manager has stated that his diligence and attitude has helped him overcome his challenges and helped him star in one of the biggest TV shows of the past couple years. He is now slated to star in the ABC Family show “Switched at Birth.”
- Zach Anner is a Texas-based stand-up comic with CP, and gained world-wide attention and fame with the submission of a video to Oprah Winfrey’s “Search for the Next TV Star” competition. Anner would go on to win the competition, $100,000 prize money, a Chevrolet Equinox and his own television show on Oprah’s channel OWN called “Rollin’ With Zach”, a wheelchair travel show.
- Josh Blue is another stand-up comic who won fame when he won the NBC reality show “Last Comic Standing” in 2006. Centering his humor around his cerebral palsy and living with disabilities, Blue has learned to use his illness to bring humor on to the stage while having a positive attitude about it.
- Bonner Paddock is a famous American athlete born with cerebral palsy, but was not accurately diagnosed until the age of 11. Paddock was told by doctors that he might not make it to his 20th birthday, but that did not stop him from becoming the first person with CP to reach the summit of the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro, unassisted. This feat would be documented in the film Beyond Limits, which was narrated by Michael Clarke Duncan in 2009.
- Another athlete, Jerry Traylor, is the only person to jog across America on crutches. At the age of 6, Traylor underwent 14 corrective surgeries for his CP, and spent a year in the hospital recuperating. Also participating in running of 35 marathons, parachuting, and climbing to the top of Pike’s Peak, Traylor speaks of having an unbelievable sense of freedom, and tells his story around the world as a motivational speaker.
These courageous individuals have defied an untreatable illness to go on to be inspirations to many. The bold persistence to reach their goal proves that nothing can hold someone determined back from reaching their dreams. Cerebral palsy may alter their life physically, but the motivation in their hearts drives them to obtain their goals, and become visionaries to us all.