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Sofie Herzog

Sofie Herzog, also known as Dalia, Delia, or Deligath, was a trailblazing Texas physician and the first woman to work as the head surgeon in the American rail industry. Born in Vienna, Austria, Sofie came from a family of doctors and made significant contributions to medicine in Texas, including developing her unique method to remove bullets from gunshot wounds. Her dedication and groundbreaking techniques have left an indelible mark on Texas history.

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United StatesDisabledSurfer

Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Meilani Hamilton, a professional surfer and writer, has inspired millions with her story of resilience. Despite losing her left arm in a shark attack at the age of thirteen, she returned to the water just one month later and went on to achieve remarkable success in surfing. Bethany’s story of triumph over adversity has captivated readers worldwide and has been adapted into a feature film. She continues to surf professionally and advocate for others with disabilities.

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Trude Raad

Trude Raad, born on April 27, 1990, is a deaf Norwegian track and field athlete who has left an indelible mark on the sport. Known for her exceptional skills in the discus throw and hammer throw events, Trude has consistently represented Norway at various international competitions throughout her career.

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UkraineDisabledDiscus Thrower

Zoia Ovsii

Zoia Ovsii, a Ukrainian Paralympic athlete, has overcome physical challenges from a young age to become a dominant force in para-athletics. With exceptional talent and determination, Ovsii has earned numerous accolades, including gold medals at the 2020 Summer Paralympics and World Para Athletics Championships. Her inspiring journey showcases the power of resilience and the human spirit.

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New ZealandArcherDisabled

Eve Rimmer

Eva Marion “Eve” Rimmer, born in 1937 in Whanganui, New Zealand, became one of New Zealand’s greatest paraplegic athletes. Despite facing a life-altering accident at the age of fifteen, Eve’s indomitable spirit led her to become a world-renowned athlete. With an impressive collection of medals and accolades, Eve’s inspiring story continues to empower individuals with disabilities and serves as a reminder of the power of determination. She will be forever remembered as a pioneer in women’s sports, leaving behind an enduring legacy.

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BahrainDisabledShot Putter

Fatema Nedham

Fatema Nedham is a Paralympic athlete from Bahrain. She made history by becoming the first female Paralympic athlete from Bahrain to win a medal at the Summer Paralympics. She secured the gold medal in the women’s shot put F53 event at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a powerful throw of 4.76 meters. Nedham’s determination and outstanding athleticism have made her an inspiration to aspiring Paralympic athletes and individuals with disabilities worldwide. She has proven that with hard work and perseverance, one can overcome any obstacle and achieve greatness.

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Libby Kosmala

Elizabeth Kosmala is an Australian shooter with paraplegia who has left an indelible mark on the world of para shooting. Despite facing early challenges, she has earned thirteen medals, with an outstanding nine of them being gold. Kosmala’s strength, determination, and impact on society make her an inspiration to people worldwide.

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Tanni Grey-Thompson

Tanni Grey-Thompson, born in 1969, is a Welsh life peeress, television presenter, and former wheelchair racer. With an illustrious career in Paralympic athletics, Grey-Thompson earned an astonishing 16 Paralympic medals and set an impressive 30 world records. Beyond the track, she broke barriers as a television presenter and dedicated herself to empowering disabled individuals and supporting charitable causes. Her impact and influence have made her an iconic figure in women’s history and a true legend of Paralympic sport.

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United StatesBasketballDisabled

Ann Cody

Ann Cody, born on May 14, 1963, is a notable figure in the field of Paralympic sports and international disability rights. Throughout her life, she has made significant contributions as an athlete, advocate, and government official, leaving a lasting impact on society. Cody’s journey has been marked by determination, achievements, and a relentless pursuit of equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.

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United StatesActivistActor

Geraldine Lawhorn

Geraldine Jerrie Lawhorn, a prominent figure in the American deafblind community, was a multi-talented performer, pianist, actress, and instructor. She made history as the first deafblind African American to earn a college degree in the United States. Despite facing numerous challenges and obstacles, she dedicated her life to advocating for the rights and inclusivity of individuals with disabilities, leaving behind a lasting legacy. Geraldine’s accomplishments continue to inspire and empower deafblind individuals worldwide.

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Theresa Poh Lin Chan

Theresa Poh Lin Chan, born in Singapore in 1943, overcame deafblindness to become an inspiration for many. After excelling academically at the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts, she returned to Singapore to teach at the Singapore School for the Blind. Chan’s remarkable life story continues to inspire generations, showcasing the power of determination and the triumph of the human spirit.

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Chieko Asakawa

Chieko Asakawa (born 1958) is a blind Japanese computer scientist, renowned for her groundbreaking work in accessibility at IBM Research – Tokyo. Her contributions to the field of technology have significantly improved the lives of individuals with visual impairments, making her a pioneering figure in the realm of accessibility.

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United StatesDisabledSkier

Candace Cable

Candace Cable, born in 1954, is a remarkable athlete and inspiration to millions. Her achievements as a Paralympian and pioneer in disability sports have solidified her place in history. Cable’s impact on society, particularly in promoting inclusivity, cannot be understated.

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Madison de Rozario

Madison de Rozario, OAM, is an Australian Paralympic athlete and wheelchair racer with an impressive track record of success. Overcoming the challenges of transverse myelitis, she has become a dominant force in wheelchair racing, earning numerous medals at the Paralympic Games and World Para Athletics Championships. De Rozario’s remarkable achievements and dedication have made her a role model for individuals with disabilities worldwide.

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United StatesBusinessDisabled

Sarah Doherty

Sarah Doherty (1959-2023) was an amputee mountaineer, ski racer, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. Despite losing her right leg at the age of 13, Sarah became a trailblazer and icon in the world of adaptive sports. Her accomplishments included becoming an accomplished skier, summiting mountains like Mount Rainier and Mount McKinley, and founding SideStix Ventures Inc., a company focused on creating innovative crutch designs. Sarah’s resilience and determination continue to inspire individuals with disabilities to pursue their dreams.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDisabled

Alice of Dunk’s Ferry

Alice of Dunk’s Ferry, an African-American slave, toll collector, and centenarian, was known as “one of Black America’s early oral historians.” Despite being enslaved, Alice was respected for her sharp memory and her ability to vividly recall people, places, and events. Her recollections provided valuable insights into the development of Philadelphia. Throughout her long life, Alice had notable interactions with prominent figures and became an esteemed local historian, earning the nickname “Alice of Dunk’s Ferry”.

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Florence Ndagire

Florence Ndagire is a female Ugandan lawyer who has made significant contributions to the field of human rights. She currently works as a legal researcher and human rights lawyer at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Ndagire is not only a trailblazer in her profession, but she is also a source of inspiration for many as she serves as the chairperson of the UN Women Regional Group for Eastern and Southern Africa.

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United StatesDisabledSkier

Gretchen Fraser

Gretchen Kunigk Fraser, born on February 11, 1919, in Tacoma, Washington, was a pioneering American alpine ski racer who became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in skiing. Her notable accomplishments on the slopes, as well as her contributions to the world of skiing and her work with disabled athletes, have left a lasting impact on the sport.

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United StatesBlindDeaf

Laura Bridgman

Laura Dewey Lynn Bridgman (1829-1889) was the first deaf-blind American child to receive a significant education in the English language. Educated at the Perkins Institution for the Blind, under the guidance of Samuel Gridley Howe, Bridgman learned to read and communicate using Braille and the manual alphabet. Although she gained celebrity status after being visited by Charles Dickens, she spent much of her life in relative obscurity, passing her time sewing and reading books in Braille at the Perkins Institute. Her groundbreaking achievements paved the way for advancements in deaf-blind education.

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Róża Czacka

Countess Róża Maria Czacka, also known as Elżbieta, was a Polish religious sister who made significant contributions to the education and empowerment of the blind. She adapted Polish phonetics into the Braille alphabet, which became mandated in all schools for the blind in 1934. Her work led to the establishment of the Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross, and her efforts continue to inspire and impact the lives of the visually impaired.

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Nujeen Mustafa

Nujeen Mustafa, a Kurdish Syrian refugee with cerebral palsy, captured the world’s attention when she traveled 3,500 miles by wheelchair to escape the Syrian Civil War and resettle in Germany. Despite facing numerous physical and financial challenges, Mustafa has become an internationally recognized advocate for refugees and disabled individuals, using her own experiences to raise awareness and inspire change. She has received the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism from Human Rights Watch for her remarkable achievements.

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Olga Skorokhodova

Olga Ivanovna Skorokhodova was a remarkable Soviet scientist, therapist, teacher, and writer who overcame incredible challenges to make significant contributions to the field of education for deafblind children. Her groundbreaking research and tireless efforts have had a lasting impact on the field of special education, inspiring countless others and leaving behind an incredible legacy.

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Amina Azimi

Amina Azimi, born in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is an advocate for disabled women’s rights in her country. Her life has been shaped by the ongoing Afghan Civil War, which resulted in a tragic loss for her at a young age. At the tender age of 11, Azimi lost her right leg when a rocket propelled grenade struck her home. This devastating event placed her in the large group of disabled Afghans, in a country where disability rates are amongst the highest in the world.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDeaf

Blanche Wilkins Williams

Blanche Wilkins Williams was an American educator of deaf children and a trailblazer in the deaf community. Despite facing significant adversity and discrimination, she became the first African American woman to graduate from the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in 1893. She embarked on a remarkable career in education and made significant contributions to deaf education. Blanche Wilkins Williams’s dedication to inclusivity and her commitment to deaf education left an indelible mark on society.

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United StatesBlindDisabled

Rachael Scdoris

Rachael Scdoris, a trailblazer in the world of sled dog racing, has defied all odds despite being born with a visual disorder. She became the first legally blind person and the youngest musher to complete the 500-mile International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race and went on to conquer the grueling Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. Her remarkable achievements have inspired athletes worldwide.

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United StatesActivistActor

Selma Blair

Selma Blair Beitner, born on June 23, 1972, in Southfield, Michigan, is an American actress and author. She has made a significant impact on both the film and television industries, as well as being an influential figure in raising awareness about multiple sclerosis.

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Rumana Monzur

Rumana Monzur, a Bangladeshi woman, became a symbol of resilience after being brutally attacked and blinded by her husband for wanting to pursue higher education. Despite her traumatic experience, Rumana continued her studies and achieved a law degree. She now advocates for women’s rights, using her story to inspire others and raise awareness about domestic violence and gender inequality.

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Opu Daeng Risaju

Opu Daeng Risaju, a fearless Indonesian independence activist, dedicated her life to fighting against Dutch colonization. She faced imprisonment, forced labor, and torture but remained undeterred in her pursuit of freedom. In 2006, she was posthumously honored as a National Hero of Indonesia, a testament to her strength and determination.

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United StatesActivistDeaf

Claudia L. Gordon

Claudia L. Gordon is a trailblazer and advocate for the rights of deaf individuals in the United States. Born in St. Mary, Jamaica in March 1972, Gordon’s life took a significant turn when she suddenly lost her sense of hearing at the age of eight. This life-altering event thrust her into a world of challenges and discrimination, but also ignited a fierce determination to overcome barriers and fight for equality.

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Ángela Bachiller

Ángela Covadonga Bachiller, Spain’s first city councillor with Down syndrome, has overcome obstacles to become a prominent figure in her community. Bachiller’s determination, along with the support of her family, has laid the foundation for her success. She has made significant contributions as an administrative assistant and as a city councillor, becoming a symbol of empowerment for individuals with disabilities. Bachiller’s journey serves as an inspiration and a reminder of the importance of inclusion and equal opportunities for all.

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Great BritainCyclistDisabled

Karen Darke

Karen Darke, MBE, FRSGS, is a remarkable British Paralympic cyclist, paratriathlete, adventurer, and author. Born on June 25, 1971, in Halifax, Yorkshire, she has defied all odds and become an inspiration to many.

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AustriaDisabledReligious Leader

Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria

Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, despite facing physical disabilities, demonstrated remarkable intelligence and played significant roles in state events throughout her life. As the abbess of the Theresian Institution of Noble Ladies in Prague and later in Klagenfurt, she dedicated herself to education and the well-being of the noble ladies under her care. Her perseverance, resilience, and contributions to science and art make her an inspiring figure in women’s history.

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Martina Monika Willing

Martina Monika Willing is a celebrated Paralympic athlete from Germany known for her exceptional talent and resilience. Born on October 3, 1959, she has overcome tremendous obstacles as she competes in field events despite being both blind and paraplegic. Her inspiring journey has made her a true icon in the world of adaptive sports.

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Princess Alice of Battenberg

Princess Alice of Battenberg was a remarkable figure in European royal history. She overcame challenges throughout her life, including being born deaf. Her marriage connected her to the Greek and Danish royal families, but political upheaval forced her into exile multiple times. Despite personal struggles, she devoted herself to charity work and sheltered Jewish refugees during WWII. Her legacy as a selfless and dedicated individual lives on.

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