I just read about this guy who was born without legs, Kevin Connolly, who has "turned the watchers into the watched." He takes photos of the countless strangers who blatantly stare at him wherever he goes (documented in "The Rolling Exhibition"). After reading about him and watching the video clip, I was stunned to discover that he's only 22 years old and is about to graduate from college with a photography degree. He seems so much more mature and wise than 22 years usually bring.
I have a coworker who was a Thalidomide victim--he has one arm, which is shorter than usual and has only 2 fingers and a thumb. I find him to be incredibly inspiring. He keyboards and does basic tasks a bit slower than most people, but he hasn't let his disability slow him down. In fact, he's quite a fearless driver and loves to ski and do other fast activities...much like Kevin Connolly. He's also the father of two school-aged children and has a wicked sense of humor.
Even though my birth defects (cleft lip and palate) are extremely minor in comparison to these two men, I do believe that my hardships have made me a stronger, more resilient person. Here's to the courage and chutzpah of Kevin Connolly and my colleague Dave!