Over one billion people, some 15 percent of the world population, live with some form of disability, according to the World Health Organization. Disabilities affect everyone regardless of status or wealth. Nowadays, the world of show business is becoming more sensitive towards the reality of disabilities, putting out shows that deal in the subject matter and supporting those who open up about their conditions. The following celebrities are some of the ones who paved the way to that present.
Daniel Radcliffe: Dyspraxia
Anyone who follows Daniel Radcliffe’s exploits would know that his talents extend beyond just acting. But what many may not know is that he has minor dyspraxia, a fact that he had only recently started being more open about. The condition primarily impairs one’s basic cognitive skills, such as coordination, memory, judgement, and speech. Still, these disadvantages didn’t keep him from pursuing his craft and other passions.
According to Radcliffe, the people around him were his primary motivator in overcoming the condition. “Some of the smartest people I know are people who have learning disabilities,” he said in an interview through Facebook chat. In the same interview, he urged everyone with the same issues to not let themselves be held back. “The struggle will only make you more determined, harder working, and more imaginative,” he said.
RJ Mitte: Cerebral Palsy
Fans of the world-renowned AMC series Breaking Bad may know him as Walter White Jr., but RJ Mitte has always seen himself as an advocate for individuals with cerebral palsy everywhere. When he came across the casting call for Walter Jr. and saw that it called for a teen with mild cerebral palsy, he saw it as a chance to show that the disability is no real barrier to anyone with enough determination. “Can’t is a decision,” he often reminds himself and others. This has become one of his core mantras.
Mitte counts himself as fortunate to have grown up in a family that puts self-reliance and confidence among its highest principles. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three, a little later than most, so his family had less time to prepare him for a life with the condition. Still, his family’s values drove him to success, pushing him to excel in physical pursuits such as soccer and martial arts, and persevere despite being bullied for his disability. RJ says that he has his family and community to thank for having gotten this far. He went on to urge others afflicted with cerebral palsy to “put yourself out there,” and to always remember who they are and what they believe in.
Lil Wayne: Epileptic Seizures
When you’re a rap superstar like Lil Wayne, one of the worst things that can happen is being prevented from performing onstage by a sudden seizure. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he’s been dealing with for most of his life. His epileptic seizures first ramped up in intensity as he was shooting a music video back in 2013, and throughout his career he has been forced to cancel several gigs because of the condition.
Everyone outside of his immediate circle first assumed it was stress and overwork, but Lil Wayne eventually came clean about his lifelong impairment. In his openness about the disorder, he was able to raise awareness of it and was thanked by the Epilepsy Foundation as a result. When asked about how he dealt with his seizures, he said that he simply followed the doctor’s orders to “sleep and eat right”. This discipline, coupled with his refusal to let the condition affect him, seem to be his most effective methods to fight against it.
The fact that these celebrities managed to lead such busy and public lives while dealing with debilitating conditions means that just about anyone can find a way around their disabilities too. If you happen to be dealing with one, remember to take their advice on board, as it helped them achieve their goals.