{SONG: When You Believe – hit play to listen}

The people listed on this page are those who have inspired me.

They could have been full of self-pity and used their circumstances as an excuse to be bitter and negative; instead, they chose to walk down the road of positivity and educating others.

Their lives have touched me. I hope they do the same for you. Please click on the links and read their remarkable stories. It will put things into perspective if you or someone who you know is going through something that you think you will not be able to overcome.

Remember to always stay positive and SPREAD LOVE



NICK VUJICIC was born without limbs. As a child, he didn’t understand why he was different from others and wondered what was his purpose in life. As an adult, he embarked on a life of empowering others to be the best they could be regardless of obstacles. He travels the world giving motivational speeches and  is President of an international non-profit organization, ‘Life Without Limbs’. UPDATE: Nick married his beautiful fiance, Kanae in 2012. UPDATE: Nick and his wife welcomed their beautiful child into the world on February 13, 2013 – one day after their one-year anniversary.



KATIE PIPER was a beautiful model and spokesperson when an awful acid attack left her burned and scarred on her face, neck, chest and hands. Surgeons removed all the skin from her face, before rebuilding it with a skin substitute and then a skin graft. She now heads a foundation that assists other burn survivors with rehabilitation, treatment and support.



HYDEIA BROADBENT was abandoned at the hospital by her drug addicted mother shortly after her birth. She was diagnosed with the HIV virus when she was 5 years old. She has been an AIDS activist since childhood and still continues to educate people about the disease through her book, appearances and her foundation.



LIZ MURRAY became homeless at 15 after her mother died of  AIDS and her father moved to a homeless shelter. She went on to graduate high school in two years and was given a scholarship to attend Harvard University. She is working towards her doctorate in clinical psychology and founded ‘Manifest Trainings’, a company which provides a series of workshops that empower adults to create the extraordinary in their lives.



BEN UNDERWOOD had to have both eyes removed, when he was three years old,  after he was diagnosed with eye cancer at the age of two. Ben said he discovered to never ask “why” and never say “but”.  Through echolocation (or as he called it – “clicking”), he used the sounds around him to ‘see’. He rode bicycles, played football, and even video games. Note: Ben passed in 2009 from cancer, at the age of 16, but during his short time on this earth, he celebrated life to its fullest.



JOHN O’LEARY was burned on 100% of his body when he was nine years old and given less than one percent chance of surviving the first night. He endured months in the hospital, years in therapy, dozens of surgeries, and lost all of his fingers to amputation. Despite the odds, he overcame those challenges to become a college graduate, business owner, chaplain, the Ambassador for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the first inductee into the Energizer “Keep Going” Hall of Fame, an international speaker, a husband and father.



BETHANY HAMILTON lost her left arm at the age of 13 years old when she was attacked by a 14 foot tiger shark while surfing.  Less than one month later, she was back surfing on a modified surfboard. She taught herself to surf with one arm and eventually began surfing competitively again. In 2004 a book was published chronicling her ordeal and courage. In July 2004 Hamilton won the Espy Award for Best Comeback Athlete of the Year. In 2005 she took 1st place in the NSSA National Championships.



CAROLYN THOMAS was shot in the face at point-blank range by a man she had been in a relationship with for eight years. She was not expected to live. She had 11 reconstructive surgeries over a two-year period and was fitted with a prosthetic nose. In May 2006, she started a foundation to reduce or eliminate barriers for future victims and survivors of domestic violence. She travels the country promoting the emotional, physical, and mental well-being of domestic violence victims/survivors.



LIU WEI was 10 years old when he had to have both of his arms amputated after he suffered an electrical shock while playing a game of hide and seek. By the age of 18, he had learned to play the piano with his toes – even after being told by a piano teacher that he never would. In October of 2010, he was crowned the winner of ‘Chinas Got Talent’.  His final performance was of “You’re Beautiful”. Liu quipped to the judges “At least I have a pair of perfect legs.”



J.R. MARTINEZ was 19 years old when he was deployed to Iraq. He suffered severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body when the Humvee he was driving ran over a landmine. J.R. has become a highly sought-after motivational speaker, traveling the country to spread his message of resilience and optimism. He also became an actor on the soap opera, ‘All My Children’ and a cast, crew and fan favorite on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ – which he eventually won. J.R. says. “I do believe everything happens for a reason, and I’m extremely grateful for that day because it led me into this life!”



FREDERICK DUKES is a high school student who has spent the last two years homeless. Yet, he will be graduating this year (2012). Frederick says,  “Your environment is not what makes you. Who you are is what you do and the decisions you make is what makes you who you are.”

Read his story here: https://myforkedroad.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/high-school-student-overcomes-hunger-and-homelessness-to-graduate/



ARTHUR BOORMAN had been a paratrooper in the Gulf War and returned home injured with back and knee problems. After doctors told him that he would never walk again, unassisted, he basically gave up. He was so unhealthy, he couldn’t teach his son how to ride a bicycle. He wanted to get healthier to take care of his wife and kids. All yoga instructors turned him away – except one.  The 47-year-old started to believe in himself after seeing results of his hard work. In 10 months, he lost 140 pounds. Arthur has put down the braces and literally sprinted into a new life.

See his journey here: https://myforkedroad.wordpress.com/inspirational-videos/

More stories to come….

I have received many responses to many of the posts on this blog, thus far. However, may I request that you please reply in the comment section of the blog  – as opposed to on Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc. – so, that all responses will be together. Your comment may be helpful to others who come across something that they can relate to. You can comment anonymously.

Thank you and many blessings.

1 Comment


  1. More stories to come. If you find inspiration in these stories, please share.

    Also, if you know of any inspirational people who overcame obstacles, please feel free to post their stories on this page. Thank you!

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