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Famous People with Cerebral Palsy

Geri Jewell

Comedian and Actress. Appeared on The Facts of Life television show. Geri Jewell (b. September 13, 1956, Buffalo, New York) is an actor and comedian born with cerebral palsy. She is most famous for her roles on the television program The Facts of Life. and on HBO's Deadwood. Geri brings to her presentations personal experience of having her behavior and actions misunderstood because of her cerebral palsy. Geri Jewell is said to be a pioneer for comedians with disabilities.

Anne McDonald

An Australian author and an activist for the rights of people with communication disability. As a result of a birth injury she developed severe athetoid cerebral palsy. She was diagnosed as having severe intellectual disability and at the age of three was placed by her parents in St. Nicholas Hospital, Melbourne, a Health Commission (government) institution for people with severe disability, and lived there without education or therapy for eleven years. Anne wrote her story in Annie's Coming Out, a book she co-authored with Rosemary Crossley in 1980 (the film Annie's Coming Out based on the book won several Australian Film Institute awards and was released in the U.S. under the title Test of Love).

Christy Brown

(June 5, 1932 - September 6, 1981) was an Irish author, painter and poet. The Academy Asard winning film My Left Foot profiled his life. Christy Brown had cerebral palsy and was incapable for years of deliberate movement or speech. Doctors considered him to be mentally disabled as well. However, his mother continued to speak to him, work with him, and try to teach him until he famously snatched a piece of chalk from his sister with his left foot to make a mark on the floor. He was about five years old and only his left foot responded to his will. His mother then taught him the alphabet and he laboriously copied each letter, holding chalk between his toes. He learned to spell out words and finally to read.

Chris Fonseca

Comedian. Works the American comedy club circuit and has written material for such comedians as Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Roseanne Arnold. Chris Fonseca is the first (and only) person with a visible disability to entertain on The Late Night Show with David Letterman, something that had not been done in the show's 18 year history. Chris allows his Cerebral Palsy to be the foundation of many of his stories. He notes that this helps to break down many preconceived barriers about CP. He has released 2 CDs, 1997's Not Tonight, I Have Cerebral Palsy and 2001's Get in the Van.

Chris Nolan

Christopher Nolan is an Irish author. He moved to Dublin for an education.He was educated at the Central Remedial Clinic School, Mount Temple Comprehensive School and at Trinity College, Dublin. He was born with cerebral palsy, from birth complications, and writes using a special computer. He had been deprived of oxygen for two hours when he was born, but his mother believed he could understand what was going on and used to teach him at home. Eventually, they discovered a drug that allowed him to move one muscle in his neck so they attached this unicorn device to his forehead and he learned to type. Nolan has never spoken or signed a word in his life, yet his poetry has been compared to that of Joyce, Keats, and Yeats. At fifteen, his first book Dam-Burst of Dreams is accepted for publication.

Ruth Senkenwitz Mercer

Sienkiewicz-Mercer was born in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was a healthy baby, but was afflicted with a severe bout of encephalitis at the age of five weeks. At thirteen months, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy resulting from the encephalitis. Her control over her entire body, except for her face and digestive system, was severely impaired; though not completely paralyzed, she could not care for herself or communicate through speech as most people know it. Due to her inability to communicate normally, she was diagnosed as an imbecile at the age of five.

Steady Eddie

Australian Comedian. Steady Eddy is the stage name of Christopher Widdows, an Australian comedian and actor with Cerebral palsy. Widdows used his disability as the basis for his comedy. Eddy started at the International Melbourne Comedy Festival where has was rewarded with a Young Australian Achievers Award and has since toured the UK, Canada and USA, released a big-selling CD and video and won two MO Awards and an ARIA for Best Comedy Recording. Video clip of Australian comedian Steady Eddy

Jerry Traylor

A motivational speaker with cerebral palsy. He is the only person to jog across America on crutches. Traylor underwent 14 corrective surgeries and spent nearly a year in the hospital when he was 6 years old. When crutches replaced the braces holding his legs at age 14, Traylor said he experienced a sense of freedom that was unbelievable. Traylor has also participated in the running of 35 marathons, climbed to the top of 14,110 foot Pike's Peak, parachuting and other adventures.

Jhamak Ghimire

A poet and writer from Nepal who has won many awards for her writing of literature. Jhamak Ghimire is Nepal's equal of Helen Keller. Born in 1980 with cerebral palsy, Ghimire's desire led her to learn to read and write. She went on to become one of the leading and well respected literary figures of Nepal. She has also become a symbol of courage to people with disabilities around the world.

Thomas Ritter

Attorney and former UCPA Board of Directors. Brother of Actor John Ritter. Father, Tex Ritter, helped start United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc. Thomas Ritter was born with cerebral palsy. In 1979, his brother, John Ritter, helped raise money for the disease.

Karen Ann Killilea

(born August 18, 1940) - is the subject of two bestselling books by her mother Marie Killilea, Karen and With Love from Karen. These books were groundbreaking in their assertion that children with cerebral palsy could be raised to lead productive lives. Karen Killilea was born three months prematurely and as a result of her prematurity, she developed cerebral palsy. After she was diagnosed, Karen's parents decided to actively raise her at home, contrary to the advice of doctors to commit her to an asylum and forget her. After visiting at least 23 doctors, they found one who taught them to do physical therapy with Karen (then a radical concept), which they did for six hours per day for over ten years. Karen learned to walk with crutches, write, and use her arms and legs. She developed into a fairly happy teen and adult who has been living independently and working for decades. As explained in Marie Killilea's book "Karen" and the sequel "With Love From Karen," the Killilea family chose to raise Karen at home instead with as normal a life as possible, and proved that children with cerebral palsy can live normal lives and need not be mentally impaired.

Josh Blue

(born November 27, 1978) is an American comedian who was voted the Last Comic Standing on NBC's reality show Last Comic Standing during its fourth season, which aired May-August, 2006. Josh Blue has cerebral palsy and many of his jokes center on living with his disability, how he deals with it and how other people view him. He coined the term "palsy punch" during his final set of the final round of the show, when he said that the palsy punch is effective in a fight because "first of all, they don't know where the punch is coming from, and second of all, neither do I." Blue also joked that signing an autograph takes 45 minutes, and that to write down his phone number he has to find a "big ole' stack of paper." More information on Josh Blue - The Comedian with Cerebral Palsy. You can also view several video clips of Josh Blue.

RJ Mitte

An American actor. He is best known for his role as Walter White Jr. on the AMC television series, Breaking Bad. In 2006 RJ Mitte moved to Hollywood and began training with personal talent manager Addison Witt. RJ has mild cerebral palsy. Addison states that it was RJ's diligence and attitude that has helped him overcome challenges in all areas of his life.

Eric Gores

The son of billionaire Alec Gores and former neighbor of actor Tom Arnold. In 2005, Gores costarred in a film written by Arnold, The Kid & I. Eric was born with cerebral palsy


Read more: http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/cp-famous.shtml#ixzz1EofAKD74


Zach's audition tape

Abbey's interview with Ellen

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