Jessica Cox the armless pilot who makes miracles happen


Jessica Cox was born without any arms to an American father and a Filipino mother in Tuscon, Arizona. Prenatal testing did not show any birth issues, but when she came out, she had only two limbs. Doctors could not explain her rare congenital condition as sonograms and other prenatal tests did not reveal any defect.

Jessica’s father William Cox is a retired band teacher and mother is Inez Cox , took her to various doctors. There was no answer. why jessica born with out arms .so Cox learned to do with her feet what other children learn to do with their hands.

“As a child, there was no way to understand why I did not have arms like everyone else. It was difficult being different,” said Cox, her voice softening.

By the time she was 3, Cox was enrolled in gymnastics classes. By the time she was 6 she was swimming in the backyard pool and tapping out rhythms in dance class.

Her parents William and Inez tried to use prosthetics to cover the missing limbs during her early years, but by the time she was in seventh grade, she refused to wear them. Jessica said, “In a sense, they were dehumanizing to me. I was basically prevented from doing what comes naturally to me.”

On her first day of eighth grade, she finally decided to take off her prosthetics before boarding the school bus. “As the bus door closed behind me, I felt freer and independent. Since that day, I never wore the prosthetics again.”


Jessica has been forced to live her entire life using just her feet for everyday things, from text messaging and playing the piano to putting in her contact lenses.

Nevertheless, she still took part in various activities such as gymnastics and tap dancing, often performing on stage.

For Cox, the greater challenge of being born without arms is the constant stares rather than the physical adversity. She said “I used to get very irritated when people stared, especially when I’m walking down the street or eating with my feet. But I’ve learnt to turn that into something positive and use that opportunity to channel positive vibes and be an example of optimism.”


Jessica admits that she was quite shy when she was around other children and adults. “I used to feel shy about being different. I remember the first time I was on stage. It was my very first at our dance studio presentation. I was so scared that I asked my dance teacher to put me in the back row. She told me there was no back row.” Fortunately, after the show, the audience clapped and cheered for her. “I couldn’t wait to go out for a second time and perform. I danced for 12 years after that,” she said.

Cox credits her parents for being her role models and pillar of support. Her mother is a nurse and her father, a retired music teacher.

“My mum is my role model and always tells me I can do anything I’ve set my mind to.”

“My dad never once shed a tear when I was born because he did not see me as a victim. It is hard being a parent to a disabled child. He was my rock during the difficult times and that has shaped me into the person I am today,” she said.


She actively participated in Te Kwon Do, swimming (she was able to swim proficiently by the age of six), and even learned how to drive. When she first learnt to drive a car, she was encouraged to use special modifications. However, after she had her car modified, she decided to remove the modifications and now holds an unrestricted driver’s licence. Jessica said that it’s like riding a bike, “I slouch back in the driver’s seat, and control everything, including the steering wheel, using my feet..

At the age of fourteen, Jessica earned her first black belt in Te Kwon Do, and received a second one after she rejoined the American Te Kwon Do Association later in college. She certainly was taking her life to the maximum; whatever a person with arms could do, Jessica stated, “I can also do”.

After high school, Jessica attended college at the University of Arizona, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.


Today, she cooks, eats, washes dishes, curls her own hair, and writes and types with her feet. She also likes to swim and ice skate.

She can type 25 words a minute, blow dry her hair, and put on her makeup and contact lenses with as much ease as anyone else.


Jessica believes that by combining creativity, persistence, and fearlessness, nothing is impossible. She can write ,use computers, brush her hair and talk on to her phone simply using her feet. Her indomitable spirit overrides what she may lack physically.


Cox used to watch with envy as other kids swung about on the monkey bars in elementary school while she was limited to the swings.

Frustrated, she would envision herself flying over the playground like Superwoman while everyone watched in disbelief. “I would imagine taking people up one at a time to experience my super powers. Years later, I realised that my imagination had become a reality,” said Cox at a media interview.

Flying in commercial planes was her greatest fear since childhood. Needless to say, piloting an aircraft was never on her to-do list. However, that changed when a member of Wright Flight, a Tucson-based non-profit group, approached her after a Rotary Club talk she gave in 2005. The group uses aviation as motivation.

A fighter pilot named Robin Stoddard who represented the group asked if she would like to fly an airplane. Being the achiever and optimist that she is, Cox decided to give it a try and was instantly hooked.

She learned to fly in rudderless light Ercoupe aircraft, where you only need your hands to control it rather than both hands and feet. Ercoupe aircraft is one of the few airplanes to be made and certified without pedals. Without rudder pedals Jessica is free to use her feet as hands. She took three years instead of the usual six months to complete her lightweight aircraft licence, had three flying instructors and practiced 89 hours of flying.


She earned a US Federal Aviation Administration sport pilot licence . (This type of licence does not require a medical examination, only a valid US driver’s licence, an oral and written exam, and a certificate to fly solo.). Jessica is now training to become an instructor – so she can help other disabled people learn to fly.

“When I fly, I have the greatest feeling of freedom, independence and power,” said Cox, who controls the throttle with her left foot and the yoke with her right.

She is now an inspirational speaker. She now talks almost daily to schools, businesses, and public crowds literally across the nation. Whether it is about overcoming the fear of flying, learning how to walk, or doing well in school, she helps thousands each and every day. Defying the standards of what she calls a "two-handed" world, Jessica shares in her speeches humorous stories of struggles and success.

What may have been a disaster of a life to some soft-minded people became a life-long challenge that Jessica determined to beat. She said, “Desire is 80 percent of success. Persistence means never give up. Never allow your fear to stand in the way of your opportunity.” As a human miracle, Jessica Cox believes that every challenge can be overcome with the power of the mind.

    Jessica Cox quotes

“Accepting myself is an ongoing journey. It’s difficult to keep your spirits up all the time but I rely on my faith to carry me through the rough times.

“It’s only human to have low moments in life because if you don’t, then you won’t feel the high, exciting times.”

“Handicaps are mindsets, whatever it is that stands in the way of achieving something, that’s when it’s a handicap. I prefer them as obstacles or challenges. This is how I’ve been my whole life, I don’t know any different. I just live my life through my feet.”

“My message is that disabilities are not limited to physical. They shouldn’t stand in the way of success, there’s no handicap to success.”

“The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory.”

“The human being must live some difficult moments in life to have emotional moments”.

“This is just to show that there’s always more than one way to accomplish a task.”

“I may not have arms but that does not determine who I am or who I can become,” she said.

Her favourite quote is one by spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; it is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

“Sometimes fear is rooted in a lack of knowledge and the unknown. When I first started flying, I realised my fear was because I did not know much about it.

“A universal fear people have is a fear of inadequacy and lack of faith in ourselves,”

Visit this website for more details about her inspiring life.

View this video to see her miracles.

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Rags to Riches story of Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan was born in Hong Kong on April 7th, 1954. His parents, Charles and Lee-lee Chan named him Chan Kong-sang which means “born in Hong Kong.” Jackie weighed 12 pounds when he was born and his mother required surgery to deliver him. Charles borrowed money from friends to pay for the operation, turning down the doctor’s offer to take the child in payment

Although Jackie’s parents were poor, they had steady jobs at the French embassy in Hong Kong. Charles was a cook and Lee-lee was a housekeeper. Together, the Chan family lived on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. During his childhood, he suffered from terrible poverty.

When Jackie was young, his father would wake him early in the morning and together they would practice kung fu. Charles Chan believed that learning kung fu would help build Jackie’s character, teaching him patience, strength, and courage.

Chan attended the Nah-Hwa Primary School on Hong Kong Island, where he failed his first year, after which his parents withdrew him from the school. He used to spend his travel money on food and went to home by walk and used to fight on the way with Caucasian kids attending special schools in the area. He was not academically bright, failing to pass Primary 1 as his peers moved on to Primary 3. This was noticed by Charles, who decided to enrol the boy, now 7, at China Drama Academy,a Peking Opera School, operated by Shu Master Yu Jan-Yuen.

Walking in with his dad, Jackie saw tens of kids, between 7 and their early teens, somersaulting and playing with swords and sticks. He recalls that he felt like kids must feel today on entering Disneyland. He would never return to academic education. Though he speaks 7 languages, he still cannot read or write with great proficiency, and has someone else write his scripts for him. He said the hardest thing about acting is speaking in English. Doing stunts are easy for him compared to speaking in English.

He trained rigorously for the next decade, excelling in martial arts and acrobatics. Eventually, Jackie’s mother left too, to join Charles in Australia, Jackie being adopted by the single-minded Master.

During Jackie’s time at the school, he learned martial arts, acrobatics, singing, and acting. The school was meant to prepare boys for a life in the Peking Opera. Chinese opera was very different from any other kind of opera. It included singing, tumbling, and acrobatics as well as martial arts skills and acting. Students at the school were severely disciplined and were beaten if they disobeyed or made mistakes. It was a very harsh and difficult life but Jackie had nowhere else to go, so he stayed. He rarely saw his parents for many years.

While at the China Academy, Jackie made his acting debut at age eight in the Cantonese movie “Seven Little Valiant Fighters: Big and Little Wong Tin Bar.” He later teamed with other opera students in a performance group called “The Seven Little Fortunes.” Fellow actors Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao were also members. Years later the three would work together and become known as The Three Brothers. As Jackie got older he worked as a stuntman and an extra in the Hong Kong film industry.

When Jackie was 17, he graduated from the China Drama Academy. Unfortunately the Chinese opera was no longer very popular, so Jackie and his classmates had to find other work. This was difficult because at the school they were never taught how to read or write. The only work available to them was unskilled labour or stunt work.
Each year many movies were made in Hong Kong and there was always a need for young, strong stuntmen. Jackie was extraordinarily athletic and inventive, and soon gained a reputation for being fearless; Jackie Chan would try anything. Soon he was in demand.

Amidst some difficulty finding stunt work and following some of his early commercial failures in the acting realm, Chan joined his parents in Canberra in 1976. While there he briefly enrolled at Dickson College and worked in construction.

Jackie was very unhappy in Australia. The construction work was difficult and boring. His salvation came in the form of a telegram from a man named Willie Chan. Willie Chan worked in the Hong Kong movie industry and was looking for someone to star in a new movie being made by Lo Wei, a famous Hong Kong producer/director. Willie had seen Jackie at work as a stuntman and had been impressed. Jackie called Willie and they talked. Jackie didn’t know it but Willie would end up becoming his best friend and manager. Soon Jackie was on his way back to Hong Kong to star in “New Fist of Fury.” It was 1976 and Jackie Chan was 21 years old.

Jackie Chan began his film career as a stuntman in the Bruce Lee films Fist of Fury(1972) and Enter the Dragon (1973).

Once Jackie got back to Hong Kong, Willie Chan took control over Jackie’s career. To this day Jackie is quick to point out that he owes his success to Willie. However, the movies that Jackie made for Lo Wei were not very successful. The problem was that Jackie’s talents were not being used properly. It was only when Jackie was able to contribute his own ideas that he became a star. He brought humour to martial arts movies;
his first success was “Snake in Eagle’s Shadow.” This was followed by “Drunken Master” (another blockbuster) and Jackie’s first ever directing job, “Fearless Hyena.” All were big hits.

Chan’s fortunes improved when he began to experiment with comic characterizations. The switch brought a fresh perspective to a genre whose original principles Lee had taken to their limits, and allowed Chan to take advantage of the acting skills he had learned at the opera school.

Following the death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the search was on for an actor who could inspire audiences to the same degree; every young martial artist was given a chance. Chan decided that rather than emulating Lee (and thus living forever in his shadow), he would develop his own style of filmmaking. His directorial debut The Young Master (1980) was a milestone in martial arts films, being one of the first to effectively combine comedy with action. This set the tone for many of his future films, which combined slapstick humour with high-energy martial arts action.

In his early career, he was almost cast aside as just another in a long line of failed Next Bruce Lees. In perfecting his craft, he’s broken his nose three times, and also cracked his ankle, most of his fingers, both his cheekbones and his skull (patched together with a steel plate). But finally, after nearly 40 years in the business, he has reached worldwide stardom.

Jackie was becoming a huge success in Asia. Unfortunately, it would be many years before the same could be said of his popularity in America. After a series of lukewarm receptions in the U.S., mostly due to miscasting, Jackie left the States and focused his attention on making movies in Hong Kong. It would be 10 years before he returned to make Rumble in the Bronx, the movie that introduced Jackie to American audiences and secured him a place in their hearts (and their box office). Rumble was followed by the Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon series which put Jackie on the Hollywood A List.

Despite the minimal formal education he received, he was made an honorary doctor of social science of the Hong Kong Baptist University, and an honorary fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.

Though he could not read or write, Jackie Chan was able to achieve such greatness due to his hard work in his chosen field of martial arts. His innovative efforts in adding a comic touch to martial arts films proved to be a great success.

Quotes of Jackie chan

    “ I’m crazy, but I’m not stupid.”

    “ I never wanted to be the next Bruce Lee. I just wanted to be the first Jackie Chan.”

    “ Do not let circumstances control you. You change your circumstances.”

    “ Why do you want to destroy life, when you can make it better?.”

    “ Exactly, how can you fill your cup if already full? How can you learn Kung Fu, you already know so much. No Shadow Kick, Buddha Palm! Empty your cup.”

    ” Don’t try to be like Jackie. There is only one Jackie. Study computers instead.”

    “ Great Success comes only with Great ambition”.

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Inspiring Story of Kulandei Francis, who won Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2012

Kulandei Francis was born to uneducated parents in Karipatti village near Salem. He was eldest of the six children. His father, Kulandei, an agricultural coolie, doubled up as a Railway Gangman while mother Mathalai Mary was a farmhand. She tired her hands at milk and rice business in a small way to augment the family income.

‘I am the only person from our family to enter college and it was mother’s desire. But, to complete my B.Com degree from Annamalai University, Chidambaram, she had to dispose of the little bit of dry land to pay for moneylenders”said Francis.. He was the only one of his siblings to earn a degree.

Fresh from college, Francis’ was not keen on getting a job. ‘Starvation, misery and migration stalking the country side occupied my mind and forced me to do something for their welfare,’ he reasons. As such, he wanted to join the priestly order to engage in the uplift of poor and chose the Holy Cross Society in Bangalore in 1971 and completed Theological studies at the De Nobili College in Pune. For the regency, a period of training, he and two of his colleagues opted to work at the remote Sesurajapuram village for one year in 1975. “Then, there were no roads and we have to walk 20 km in the thick forest. But, we stayed there, conducting night school to the kids besides taking up other ecclesiastical work,’ he recalls.

“During my priesthood, I became part of Caritas India’s (social service wing of catholic Bishops Conference of India) charity works and was assigned to work with famine hit people in West Bengal, who were displaced from Bangaldesh following the 1971 war. Then I worked with NGOs in Pune and Trichy and landed finally in Natrampalayam to devote myself to liberate people from money lenders,” says Francis. But in 1977, he left the order and became a full-time social activist.

Though Francis left the Holy Cross Society subsequently, he asserts that it offered him enough insights to take up his social work. After getting trained at an NGO in Trichy, in 1979 he registered his own, the Intergrated Village Development Project (IDVP) to work from Krishnagiri.

How did all this start? What inspired you ?

It was 1975, and I heard about poverty and starvation deaths in many rural areas. One in particular was in a reserve forest, and you had to walk 20 km from the nearest town, Anchetti, to reach the village .

I was appalled by the poverty. People were eating roots and whatever they could find on the forest floors, many were ill and unemployment was a reality.

The area would get rains, but the water would run off, leaving the area dry and parched. I began in a small way, established a school, got the community interested in check dams and bore wells, and after three decades we have over 200 wells in the area.

Q: What made you choose such a life? You are a graduate, and a priest as well, you could have opted for a regular job?

Poverty is something I know first hand. I myself come from a very poor family. I was the only one in the family to be sent to college, there was no money for the others. My family was also caught in the web of money lenders. I wanted to help families such as mine, and I joined the Holy Cross to train as a priest. I found that I could not reach out to as many people as I wanted, and so I chose to get into the field and do things first hand.

Francis began Integrated Village Development Project (IVDP) in 1979 a Tamil Nadu based self-help group (SHG) which provides help to the poor, students and women among others. IVDP started out with small projects like conducting night schools in the light of gas lamps and setting up a first-aid centre. IVDP is majorly into SHG, health and hygiene and education.

Later, with the help of development organisations, he undertook a micro-watershed programme that, over 22 years, built 331 mostly small check dams, benefitting cultivators and their families in 60 villages.

Visit this link to know more details about his work

Kulandei Francis has won Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2012 due to his selfless service for the weaker sections of the society.

Visit this link to view interview of Kulandei Francis.

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How Charlie Chaplin overcame poverty to become Comedy King?

Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in London, England, on April 16th 1889. His father Charles Chaplin Sr was a versatile vocalist and actor; and his mother Hannah Chaplin was an attractive actress and singer, who gained a reputation for her work in the light opera field.

At the time of his birth, Chaplin’s parents were both entertainers in the music hall tradition: Hannah, the daughter of a shoemaker, had a brief and unsuccessful career, while Charles Sr., a butcher’s son, worked as a popular singer.

His father, Charles Chaplin Sr., achieved modest acclaim on stage in England, but eventually drank himself to death. His mother, Hannah, was a songstress who lost her voice, and struggled to make ends meet only to end up losing her mind. Chaplin’s earliest attempts at acting are all deeply connected to his mother’s tragic downward spiral.

Chaplin’s childhood was fraught with poverty and hardship, prompting biographer David Robinson to describe his eventual trajectory as “the most dramatic of all the rags to riches stories ever told. His early years were spent with his mother and brother in the London district of Kennington. Mother Hannah had no means of income, other than occasional nursing and dress making, and Chaplin Sr. provided no support for his sons.

Because of poverty, Chaplin was sent to a work house at seven years old. The council housed him at the Central London District School for paupers, which Chaplin remembered as “a forlorn existence”. He was briefly reunited with his mother at nine years old, before Hannah was forced to readmit her family to the workhouse in July 1898. The boys were promptly sent to Norwood Schools, another charity institution.

In September 1898, Hannah Chaplin was committed to Cane Hill mental asylum—she had developed a psychosis seemingly brought on by malnutrition and an infection of syphilis. For the two months she was there, Chaplin and his brother were sent to live with their father, whom the young boy scarcely knew.

Charles Chaplin Sr. was by then a severe alcoholic, and life with the man was bad enough to provoke a visit from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He died two years later, at 37 years old, from cirrhosis of the liver. Hannah Chaplin entered a period of remission, but in May 1903 became ill again. Chaplin, then 14, had the task of taking his mother to the infirmary.

He lived alone for several days, searching for food and occasionally sleeping rough, until his brother Sydney returned from the navy. Hannah Chaplin was released from the asylum eight months later, but in March 1905 her madness returned, this time permanently. “There was nothing we could do but accept poor mother’s fate”, Chaplin later wrote, and she remained in care until her death in 1928.

Chaplin was just five years old when he first took the stage, but it was a bitter sweet occasion. His mother lost her voice in the middle of a song while performing at a theatre. To appease the crowd, the venue’s manager forced young Charlie out onto the stage. “And in the turmoil I remember the manager leading me by the hand and, after a few explanatory words to the audience, leaving me on the stage alone,” he writes in his autobiography. “Before a glare of footlights and faces in smoke, I started to sing, accompanied by the orchestra, which fiddled about until it found my key.” He sang a standard called Jack Jones, and managed to charm the audience with his stiff manner and innocence, not to mention a few wicked impressions. Unfortunately, while Chaplin first found his voice that night, his mother never recovered hers. It would be the last time she ever sang or performed in public.

Several years passed before Chaplin ventured back into the spotlight. In the intervening years, his mother was in and out of mental wards, while Chaplin and his brother were bounced from one bad housing situation to the next. When he was eight years old, his mother re-entered his life for a while, and re-animated his interest in the theatre once more. He credited his mother, later writing “she imbued me with the feeling that I had some sort of talent”.

During a break in class two months later, Chaplin recited a comedic work his mother had taught him and he became an instant celebrity in his school, experiencing his first conscious taste of glamour.

This time, however, he experienced his first failure. Chaplin tried out for a part in his school’s Christmas musical, Cinderella. Years later, he clearly still felt contempt for being passed over. “I was better able…than those who had been chosen,” he wrote in his autobiography.

Through his father’s connections, Chaplin became a member of The Eight Lancashire Lads clog dancing troupe. He began his professional career in this way, as the group toured English music halls throughout 1899 and 1900. Chaplin worked hard and the act was popular with audiences, but dancing did not satisfy the child and he dreamt of forming a comedy act.

By age 13 Chaplin had fully abandoned education. He supported himself with a range of jobs, but said he “never lost sight of my ultimate aim to become an actor. At 14, shortly after his mother’s relapse, he registered with a theatrical agency in London’s West End. The manager sensed potential in Chaplin and he was soon on the stage. His first role was a news boy in H. A. Saintsbury’s Jim, a Romance of Cockayne. It opened in July 1903 in Kingston upon Thames, but the show was unsuccessful and it closed after two weeks. Chaplin’s comic performance, however, was singled out for praise in many of the reviews. From October 1903 to June 1904, Chaplin toured with Saintsbury in Charles Frohman’s production of Sherlock Holmes. He repeated his performance of Billy the page boy for two subsequent tours, and was so successful that he was called to London to play the role alongside William Gillette,

Chaplin quickly began work in another role, touring with his brother—who was also pursuing an acting career—in a comedy sketch called Repairs. He left the troupe in May 1906, and joined the vaudeville act Casey’s Court Circus. Chaplin’s specialism with the company was a burlesque of Dick Turpin and the music hall star “Dr. Bodie”. It was popular with audiences and Chaplin became the star of the show. When they finished touring in July 1907, the 18 year old was an accomplished comedian. Several months of unemployment followed, however, and Chaplin lived a solitary existence while lodging with a family in Kennington. He attempted to develop a solo comedy act, but his Jewish impersonation was poorly received and he performed it only once.

By 1908, Sydney Chaplin had become a star of Fred Karno’s prestigious comedy company. In February, he managed to secure a two-week trial for his younger brother. Karno was initially wary, thinking Chaplin a “pale, puny, sullen-looking youngster” who “looked much too shy to do any good in the theatre. But the teenager made an impact on his first night at the London Coliseum, winning more laughs in his small role than the star, and he was quickly signed to a contract.

Chaplin’s second American tour with the Karno company was not particularly successful, as cast members fell sick and audiences failed to grasp the troupe’s burlesque humour. They had been there six months when Chaplin’s manager received a telegram, asking “Is there a man named Chaffin in your company or something like that” with the request that that this comedian contact the New York Motion Picture Company. A member of NYMPC had seen Chaplin perform and felt that he would make a good replacement for Fred Mace, outgoing star of their Keystone Studios.

Chaplin said “I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large … I added a small moustache, which, I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born.”

Chaplin adopted the character permanently, and attempted to make suggestions for the films he appeared in. These ideas were dismissed by his directors. During the filming of his tenth picture he clashed with director Mabel Normand, and was almost released from his contract. Sennett kept him on, however, when a request arrived for more Chaplin films. With an insurance of $1,500 promised in case of failure, Sennett also allowed Chaplin to direct his own film.

He did not receive screen credit on the many comedies he made for Keystone in 1914-15, as it was studio policy not to credit its actors. Caught in the Rain (issued 4 May 1914), Chaplin’s first directed picture, was among Keystone’s most successful releases to date.

His first screen credit appeared on His New Job (1915), his first film for Essanay. .He went on to create history in the field of cinema.

Charlie Chaplin became a king of comedy though he had to undergo great struggles in the initial stages of his career due to acute poverty and lack of parental support. He built up his career independently and charted a new course though he lacked any formal training. His rags to riches story will definitely inspire us to achieve success by overcoming all obstacles.

Visit his website for more details about his life.

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Daring Vision of Daniel Kish who uses his ears to see

Daniel Kish was born during 1966 in Montebello, California with an aggressive form of cancer called retinoblastoma, which attacks the retinas. He lost vision in one eye when he was seven months old, and in the other when 13 months old to Retinoblastoma.

Kish was born, into a difficult family situation. His younger brother, Keith, was also born with retinoblastoma — it’s genetic, though neither of Kish’s parents had the disease. Doctors managed to save enough of Keith’s eyesight so that he doesn’t need echolocation. He’s now a middle school English teacher. Kish’s father, who worked as an automobile mechanic, was a physically abusive alcoholic, and his mother left him when Kish was six.

Kish can hardly remember a time when he didn’t click. He came to it on his own, intuitively, at age two, about a year after his second eye was removed.

If you saw Kish walking down the street you’d hear him make repeated clicking sounds with his tongue — click! click! click! — as he weaves through traffic or ducks to miss tree branches. The clicks usually aren’t terribly loud, but they come at a continuous clip.

He makes the sound more often when he’s a bit confused or comes to an intersection. Other times he’s silent as he walks with the help of a cane. Many blind children make noises in order to get feedback — foot stomping, finger snapping, hand clapping, tongue clicking. These behaviours are the beginnings of echolocation, but they’re almost invariably deemed asocial by parents or caretakers and swiftly extinguished.

Kish was fortunate that his mother never tried to dissuade him from clicking. “That tongue click was everything to me,” he says.

Kish does not go around clicking like a madman. He uses his click sparingly and, depending on his location, varies the volume. When he’s outside, he’ll throw a loud click. In good conditions, he can hear a building 1,000 feet away, a tree from 30 feet, a person from six feet. Up close, he can echolocate a one-inch diameter pole. He can tell the difference between a pickup truck, a passenger car, and an SUV. He can locate trail signs in the forest, then run his finger across the engraved letters and determine which path to take. Every house, he explains, has its own acoustic signature.

He can hear the variation between a wall and a bush and a chain-link fence. Bounce a tennis ball off a wall, Kish says, then off a bush. Different response. So too with sound. Given a bit of time, he can echolocate something as small as a golf ball. Sometimes, in a parking garage, he can echolocate the exit faster than a sighted person can find it.

He went to mainstream schools and relied almost exclusively on echolocation to orient himself, though at the time neither he nor his mom had any concept of what he was doing.

“My parents did not limit me, they did not restrict me from anything. They were not at all concerned about my blindness, and raised me just like any other child,” he says.

He was raised with almost no dispensation for his blindness. “My upbringing was all about total self-reliance,” he writes, “of being able to go after anything I desired.” His career interests, as a boy, included policeman, fireman, pilot, and doctor. He was a celebrated singer and voracious consumer of braille books. He could take anything apart and put it back together — a skill he retains.

He is so accomplished at echolocation that he’s able to pedal his mountain bike through streets heavy with traffic and on precipitous dirt trails, He rode his bike with wild abandon. He said “I used to go to the top of a hill and scream ‘Dive bomb!’ and ride down as fast as I could,” he says. This is when he was eight. The neighbourhood kids would scatter. “One day I lost control of the bicycle, crashed through these trash cans, and smashed into a metal light pole. It was a violent collision. I had blood all over my face. I picked myself up and went home.”

He climbs trees. He camps out, by himself, deep in the wilderness. He’s lived for weeks at a time in a tiny cabin a two-mile hike from the nearest road. He travels around the globe. He’s a skilled cook, an avid swimmer, a fluid dance partner. Essentially, though in a way that is unfamiliar to nearly any other human being, Kish can see.

He attended the University of California Riverside, then earned two master’s degrees — one in developmental psychology, one in special education. He wrote a thesis on the history and science of human echolocation, and as part of that devised one of the first echolocation training programs.

The thesis was the first time Kish really studied what he’d been doing all his life; it was the beginning, as he put it, of “unlocking my own brain.” He then became the first totally blind person in the United States (and likely the world) to be fully certified as an orientation and mobility specialist — that is, someone hired by the visually impaired to learn how to get around.

Daniel Kish has used clicking sounds to detect objects and to make his way around them. But it was only when he was around 18 that he found what he was doing was called “human echolocation”. He makes clicking noises with his mouth and uses the sound waves reflected by the surrounding objects to identify their location and size. This acoustic process is similar to what bats and dolphins do to navigate.

Human echolocation is the ability of humans to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes from those objects. By actively creating sounds – for example, by tapping their canes, lightly stomping their foot or making clicking noises with their mouths – people trained to orientate with echolocation can interpret the sound waves reflected by nearby objects, accurately identifying their location and size. This ability is used by some blind people for acoustic way finding, or navigating within their environment using auditory rather than visual cues. It is similar in principle to active sonar and to the animal echolocation employed by some animals, including bats, dolphins and toothed whales.

Echolocation has been further developed by Daniel Kish, who works with the blind, leading blind teenagers hiking and mountain-biking through the wilderness and teaching them how to navigate new locations safely, with a technique that he calls “FlashSonar”,through the non-profit organization World Access for The Blind.

He now trains other blind people in the use of echolocation and in what he calls “Perceptual Mobility”.Though at first resistant to using a cane for mobility, seeing it as a “handicapped” device, and considering himself “not handicapped at all”, Kish developed a technique using his white cane combined with echolocation to further expand his mobility.

Daniel created the first systematic, comprehensive echolocation curriculum for advanced training. So advanced are the results of this training that Daniel has coined the term “Flash Sonar” to underscore the advantages to his specific approach to the advanced instruction and use of active echolocation in contrast to traditional approaches to echolocation, which he believes to be rudimentary by comparison.

Daniel and some of his students have applied FlashSonar combined with other techniques to riding bicycles independently at moderate speeds through unfamiliar environments, and to participate effectively and independently in other complex activities such as skating, ball play, and solo wilderness travel.

There are two reasons echolocation works. The first is that our ears, conveniently, are located on both sides of our head. When there’s a noise off to one side, the sound reaches the closer ear about a millisecond — a thousandth of a second before it reaches the farther ear. That’s enough of a gap for the auditory cortex of our brain to process the information. It’s rare that we turn the wrong way when someone calls our name. In fact, we’re able to process, with phenomenal accuracy, sounds just a few degrees off-center. Having two ears, like having two eyes, also gives us the auditory equivalent of depth perception. We hear in stereo 3-D. This allows us, using only our ears, to build a detailed map of our surroundings.

The second reason echolocation works is that humans, on average, have excellent hearing. We hear better than we see. Much better. On the light spectrum, human eyes can perceive only a small sliver of all the varieties of light — no ultraviolet, no infrared. Converting this to sound terminology, we can see less than one octave of frequency. We hear a range of 10 octaves.

We can also hear behind us; we can hear around corners. Sight can’t do this. Human hearing is so good that if you have decent hearing, you will never once in your life experience true silence. Even if you sit completely still in a soundproof room, you will detect the beating of your own heart.

    Quotes of Daniel Kish

“I don’t remember when I started using echolocation, for I have been doing it ever since I was a child. But would credit my parents for inspiring me to discover it. They were not overprotective and did not treat me like someone who would not be able to achieve what they expected of him.I
“What I can do is not important. What is important is what I can teach others to help them.”

Make a point of regularly challenging what you think you know. Most of it is based on assumptions that have been programmed into us by a society which doesn’t necessarily have our best interests at heart. If we challenge what we think we know, there is a chance we can break out of that and begin to touch what is real.”

By and large, Blind people are taught to be dependent on sighted people — in part because 99% of them, he said, are taught by people who can see. He was once asked by a colleague what he thought the biggest problem was with being blind. “My biggest barrier is people,” he answered. “Especially sighted people.”

Young people, says Kish, are especially hard-hit. “Most blind kids hear a lot of negative talk. ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t move. No, here, let me help you.’ The message you get, if you’re blind, is you’re intellectually deficient, you’re emotionally deficient, you’re in all ways deficient.”

Daniel asserts that the liberation of blind people depends upon the awareness that blindness bears no intrinsic shame or deficiency. Rather, the deficiency lies primarily in the quality of interaction between the world and the blind. Daniel is deeply dedicated to helping unlock the ability of blind people to challenge these limiting forces with personal assurance and strength, and to stand at last on their own merits in camaraderie and equality with sighted people.

Kish, is the first totally blind person to be a legally Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and to hold a National Blindness Professional Certification (NOMC).

Daniel Kish is President of World Access for the Blind, a non-profit founded in 2000 to facilitate “the self-directed achievement of people with all forms of blindness” and increase public awareness about their strengths and capabilities.

World Access offers training on how to gracefully interact with one’s environment, using echolocation as a primary tool. So far, in the decade it has existed, the organization has introduced more than 500 students to echolocation. Kish is not the first blind person to use echolocation, but he’s the only one to meticulously document it, to break it down into its component parts, and to figure out how to teach it. His dream is to help all sight-impaired people see the world as clearly as he does.

Visit website of World Access for the blind by clicking this link

What Kish envisions is the next leap in human echolocation. His idea is to become more like a bat.

Bats are the best. Some can fly in complete darkness, navigating around thousands of other bats while nabbing insects one milli meter wide. Bats have evolved, over millions of years, to possess the ideal mouth shape and the perfect ear rotation for echolocation. They can perceive high-frequency sound waves, beyond the range of human hearing — waves that are densely packed together, whose echoes give precise detail.

There is evidence that humans could be that good. Bats have tiny brains. Just the auditory cortex of a human brain is many times larger than the entire brain of a bat. This means that humans can likely process more complex auditory information than bats. What we’ll require, to make up for bats’ evolutionary head start, is a little artificial boost.

Kish uses his ears to see. When he walks around unfamiliar places — he loves hiking — he clicks his tongue and then listens as that sound bounces off nearby objects. He says he’s trained his brain to turn these sounds into an image of sorts — an auditory map he follows with the help of a cane.

Kish has helped Vikram, who plays a RAW agent in A.L. Vijay’s Tamil feature film Thaandavam, play a visually challenged person. He has also planned to visit Chennai and train blind people in echolocation techniques.

Visit these links to view video of Daniel Kish in action.

Though Daniel Kish is suffering due to blindness from childhood, he has the vision to change the future of blind by popularising the concept of echolocation which helps blind people to lead an independent life without the support of others. His inspiring success story will definitely motivate many people to strive for success in an independent manner.

Courtesy: and

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Magnificient Success story of Mary Kom

Mary Kom was born in 1983 in a poor family in Kangathei, Manipur.She is the first daughter of Shri M Tonpa Kom and Smt M Akham Kom. They belonged to Kangathel village, a small village in Churachandpur district in Manipur.

Her parents, Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom, worked in jhum fields. Her family background speaks a lot of how Mary overcame hardship and inconveniences and created a name for herself in the arena of world boxing.

She completed her primary education from Loktak Christian Model High School, Moirang till her class sixth standard and St.Xavier School, Moirang up to class VIII. She then moved to Adimjati High School, Imphal for her schooling for class IX and X, but could not pass her examination. She did not want to reappear for her exams so she quit her school and passed her examination from NIOS, Imphal and graduation from Churachandpur College.

Being the eldest, Mary helped her parents work in the fields, cutting woods, making charcoal and fishing. On the other hand, she spent a good time looking after her two younger sisters and a brother.

Mary Kom was interested in sports since her childhood. She took a keen interest in Athletics. when she was in class VI in Loktak Christian Mission School, Moirang and class VII- VIII in St.Xavier School, Moirang. Mary thought that she would become a good athlete one day and carve a name for herself in the discipline. But fate decided otherwise.

She took to sports in an effort to provide some financial support to her family. “I was initially an all-round athlete, and 400-m and javelin were my pet events.

It was the success of Dingko Singh that inspired her to become a boxer. The rise of Dingko Singh and the demonstration of women boxers at the 5th National Games (Manipur) inspired her. When Dingko Singh returned from Bangkok (Asian Games) with a gold, I thought I should give it a try. Dingko’s success triggered a revolution of sort in Manipur and surprisingly I found that I was not the only girl who was drawn into boxing,” she said.

She began boxing in 2000 and was a quick learner who preferred to be put through the same paces as the boys around her. “In just two weeks, I had learnt all the basics. I guess I had God-given talent for boxing.”

Mary had tried to hide her interest in boxing from her family, since it was not considered as a sport for them. Her father scolded her when a photo of her winning the state boxing championship came in the newspaper. This, however, did not deter her from pursuing a career in boxing.

“I still remember I was castigated by my father who said with a battered and bruised face, I should not expect to get married. He was furious that I took to boxing – a taboo for women – and he did not have the slightest idea about it. But my passion for the sport had got the better of me and I thank my cousins who coaxed and cajoled my father into eventually giving his nod. I’m happy that I did not let anybody down,” she told in September 2004.

Mary Kom decided to enter into the ring with determination and strong will. To pursue her dream of becoming a world class pugilist, she joined Sports Authority of India, Khuman Lampak and underwent an intensive training from coach and mentor, Shri. Ibomcha Singh.

At a tender age of 18, Mary made her debut at the first Women World Boxing Championship, after just one year of starting to learn boxing, which was held at Pennsylvania, USA. At her debut event itself, she won a silver medal in the 46 kg weight category .A year later, she went on to win the gold at the second Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA) World Women’s Senior Boxing Championship. held at Antalya, Turkey.

Mary Kom is a mother of twin sons. In 2008, she came back from a two-year maternity break to clinch her fourth boxing gold in World Championships. That instantly won her the name “Magnificent Mary’.

The family came to know of the problem in her son Khupneivar’s heart when he was four years old. After consulting with a doctor friend who is now based in Chandigarh, Mary decided to have the procedure done at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, which is close to NIS, Patiala, where she has been training. Mary Kom fought Asian champion Kim Myong Sim in the title bout at the Asian Cup women’s boxing tournament in Haikou, China, little Khupneivar cheered for mummy from his hospital bed in Chandigarh.

Mary Kom’s Quotes

“Don’t give up as there is always a next time. Think that if Mary Kom, a mother of two, can do it, why can’t you?.

“I do not only rely on my technique or strength but also on my mind,”

“To be a successful boxer one must also have a strong heart. Some women are physically strong but fail when it comes to having a strong heart. One also must have the zeal and the right fighting spirit,” says Mary kom.

“We work harder than men and are determined to fight with all our strength to make our nation proud. God has given me the talent and it’s only because of sheer grit and hard work that I have made it so far.”

“If I, being a mother of two, can win a medal, so can you all. Take me as an example and don`t give up”.

“People used to say that boxing is for men and not for women and I thought I will show them some day. I promised myself and I proved myself”

“Boxing is not easy. When I started, my male friends would say it is not a woman’s sport. But I say if men can do it then why not women.”

Ms. Kom said marriage and motherhood also posed as a challenge to her. “When I had two children even my father did not believe in me, let alone others. However, my family’s love and support helped me to reach my dream.”

Likening her story to that of David facing Goliath, Mary Kom says, “I always remember I am also so small and Manipur is very small, but if I pray and if I do very hard work then I will win.”

Mary Kom is a five time successive World Boxing champion, a biennial amateur boxing competition organised by the International Boxing Association (AIBA). She is the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six World Championships. As of June 2012, she is ranked world no. 4 in the 51 kg women’s category by AIBA. She has more than three Asian titles and eleven National titles under her belt.

She is a recipient of the Arjuna Award, the Padma Shri Award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and a special award from AIBA.
Mary Kom created history by becoming first person from north east to win bronze medal in Olympics 2012.

Mary Kom has overcome gender bias, poverty, the limitations of her small size, and the disadvantages of the small region to win the olympic medal for boxing. She is an inspiration not only for the North-Eastern people but also for women who endure hardships on a daily basis.

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Cliff Young – 61 yr old farmer who Won the World’s Toughest Race

Cliff Young was born on 8th February 1922 and spent his first few years living in an old bark hut with his family. They struggled during his early years and also during the depression. His father had to take work wherever he could and manage the farm at weekends.

Cliff grew up in a farm spread over 2000 acres and he used to manage around 2000 sheep. He was forced to run almost continuously to effectively manage the sheep roaming in the farm.

Cliff started professional running at the age of 56 and his first fun run was the 1979 Adidas Sun Superun. The 16 kilometre course crossed the Westgate Bridge and was amongst the first events in Australia to capture the start of the fun run boom. He ran a very respectable 64 minutes and was even interviewed by the Melbourne media.

Cliff produced another three hour performance in the Melbourne Marathon the following year and finished forty third. The TV Commentator doubted Cliff’s ability, thinking that he must have come in from a side street before finishing!.

Every year, Australia hosts 875-kilometer endurance racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is considered among the world’s most grueling ultra-marathons. The race takes five days to complete and is normally only attempted by world-class athletes who train specially for the event. These athletes are typically less than 30 years old and backed by large companies such as Nike.

In 1983, Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone’s shock, Cliff wasn’t a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.

He arrived at the start with the feeling that the other runners were looking at him with disdain. He knew he had something to prove.

The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” To which he replied, “Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d always catch them. I believe I can run this race.”

Cliff’s training was growing up on a farm, herding sheep before storms – 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes he would run for two or three consecutive days, and this race would be no different.

When the race started, the pros quickly left Cliff behind. The crowds and television audience were entertained because Cliff didn’t even run properly; he appeared to shuffle. Many even feared for the old farmer’s safety.

In order to compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours. The thing is, Cliff Young didn’t know that!

When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race, he had continued jogging all night. It was on the first night that Cliff and his crew accidentally rewrote the rule book about multi-day ultra running. They pulled off the road for a six hour break. Cliff was awakened only a short time later, thought to himself that it was a quick sleep, then headed for the road. It was still dark and it only took Cliff and his crew a short time to realize that he had only slept for two hours! Regardless, Cliff felt good and the consequences were written into Australian athletic history.

Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone’s disbelief, he claimed he would run straight through to the finish without sleeping.

Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he had surpassed all of the young world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line and he set a new course record.

When Cliff was awarded the winning prize of $10,000, he said he didn’t know there was a prize and insisted that he did not enter for the money. He ended up giving all of his winnings to several other runners, an act that endeared him to all of Australia.

Cliff became a national hero after his amazing win in the 1983 inaugural Westfield Sydney to Melbourne run and since then has participated in almost 20,000 km of ultra marathons. Since turning 60, he has set six world endurance records.

Cliff came to prominence again in 1997, aged 76, when he attempted to raise money for homeless children by running around Australia’s border. He completed 6,520 kilometers of the 16,000-kilometer run before he had to pull out because his only crew member became ill.

Cliff was at the 1999 Coburg 24 Hour Carnival when he completed 147 km. A storm came through in the evening which sent most of the competitors scurrying for cover but not the 77 year old Cliff. He was leaning forward and kept going through the wind, rain and sleet.

    Quotes of Cliff Young

“I think I can do it. In fact, I am sure I can do it. Only death will stop me. If I get run over by a semi-trailer that is the only thing that will stop me. Of course, I hope I don’t because I have a lot of living to do after this.”

“Get out of your wheelchairs and start doing a few laps, if you can. If you don’t get any exercise your joints start seizing up like a rusty engine. The doctors once told me I had arthritis in my joints and to take it easy, so I said “I’ll fix that up, I’ll run it out”. So I kept running and it disappeared. It is like rust that gets into a vehicle. Well, I think it was like rust in me. I reckon you have to keep your joints moving. Absolutely. No matter what you do, you have to keep moving. If you don’t wear out, you rust out, and you rust out quicker than you wear out.”

See this inspiring video about Cliff Young

Though Cliff young started professional running only at 56 he created several world records due to his self confidence and will power. He was able achieve so much even in the absence of shoes of international standards and lack of professional training by coaches. Inspiring life of Cliff young will definitely inspire young athletes to aspire for international awards.

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Inspiring story of Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man to reach Mount Everest

Erik Weihenmayer is one of the most exciting and well-known athletes in the world. Despite losing his vision at the age of 13, Erik has become an accomplished mountain climber, paraglider, and skier, who has never let his blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life.

Erik was born in 1968 with a rare eye disease called retinoschisis. The disease rendered him legally blind. It progressed into glaucoma, and by age 13 Erik was totally blind.By the time he got to high school, Erik was completely blind. At first, he had a difficult time admitting his loss of vision, but ultimately he faced it and decided he wouldn’t let it hold him back.

In his book, Erik explains: “Prior to my going blind, I wasn’t allowed to participate in any contact sports; my weak retinas might break away faster. Now that I was totally blind, there were no limitations; there was no more risk of me losing my remaining sight. In a sordid way, going blind had set me free.”

The summer after his freshman year, Erik attended wrestling camp. Just as things were starting to fall in to place, Erik was hit with another devastating blow – his mother was killed in an accident. For Erik this was even more horrifying than losing his sight. But, through the strength of his family and their commitment to each other, Erik persevered.

He joined the high school wrestling team and became its captain. In 1987 Erik graduated from Weston High School in Connecticut. Erik first tried rock climbing when he was 16, three years after he went blind.

At first, when his dad suggested Erik attend a skills camp for blind teens, Erik wasn’t crazy about the idea. But he went and something incredible happened: He learned to rock climb. “It was as though my senses had awakened,” writes Erik. “Never again would I thunder down a basketball court on a fast break or jump a dirt bike over a ramp… But one hundred feet above tree line with the sun in my face and a sound of openness all around me, none of that seemed to matter as much, because I had just discovered I could climb.”

Erik’s father, Ed Weihenmayer, encouraged Erik to challenge the ideas of what a blind person can and cannot do. Ed took Erik and his brother hiking often and sent Erik to adventure camps for blind youth where he learned to mountain climb. The seeds were planted early for a life of exploration and adventure.

After that, there was no stopping Erik. He graduated from Boston College and went on to receive a master’s degree in Middle School Education. He worked as a middle school teacher and wrestling coach for a couple of years before deciding to dedicate most of his time to outdoor activity.

in 1997, he summited Kilimanjaro, the Roof of Africa, where he was married at 13,000’ on the Shira Plateau. Erik and his wife Ellen live outside of Denver, Colorado. They have a daughter, Emma.

Erik joined Mark Wellman – the first paraplegic to climb the 3000-foot face of El Capitan, and Hugh Herr – a double-leg-amputee and scientist at Harvard’s prestigious prosthetics Laboratory, to climb an 800-foot rock tower in Moab, Utah. As a result of their successful climb together, the three formed No Barriers, a non-profit organization with a goal of promoting innovative ideas, approaches, and assistive technologies which help people with disabilities.

In 1999 Weihenmayer turned back short of Aconcagua’s summit. He cited poor weather conditions and pain in his eyes at high altitude among the reasons. (One characteristic of the most common types of glaucoma is increased pressure in the eyes which ultimately damages the optic nerve.) Later Weihenmayer had laser surgery treatments for his glaucoma prior to the climb.

“It made all the difference. I didn’t feel pain until I hit 19,000’. But when I did, it felt like someone stabbed me in the eye with a fork. Drugs and eye drops made it manageable this time,” Weihenmayer says.

For Aconcagua, he and his climbing partner and lead, Chris Morris, braved severe winds, minus 70 degrees below zero weather, and a 4 a.m. departure time, to enjoy 20 minutes at the summit. At one point, Weihenmayer spent nearly three hours climbing an exposed ridge, un-roped to his partner, and unable to hear his lead due to high winds. His only guide was packed snow. He knew if he was walking on rock, rather than snow, he was off the path.

“When you go blind, you wonder what you will be capable of. Climbing begins to answer those questions,” Weihenmayer says.

In the same way, “Part of my motivation on this climb was trying to understand this disease and its limitations. What can one expect from their life, living with glaucoma?” Weihenmayer explains. “If I can go to such high altitudes with such high pressure in my eyes….that’s pretty encouraging for everyone living with glaucoma.”

On May 25, 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the only blind man in history to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak – Mount Everest.

At the age of 33, on September 25, 2002, he became one of the youngest of the elite “Seven Summiteers” – approximately 100 people who have climbed all seven summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

In July of 2003, as part of the four-person team “No Boundaries,” Erik participated in the 2003 Arctic Team Challenge in Ammassalik, Greenland. The challenge included mountain biking, mountain trekking, climbing, glacier trekking and canoeing.

Additionally, he has scaled El Capitan, a 3300-foot overhanging granite monolith in Yosemite; Lhosar, a 3000-foot ice waterfall in the himalayas; and a difficult and rarely climbed rock face on 17,000-foot Mt. Kenya.

Since the beginning of his climbing career, Erik has faced skepticism from many critics. In his book, he answers their questions:
” I refused to be the weak link of the team. I wanted them to put their lives in my hands as I would put mine in theirs. I would carry my share. I would contribute as any other team member. I would not be carried up to the mountain and spiked on top like a football. If I were to reach the summit, I would reach it with dignity.”

Weihenmayer enjoys breaking through perceived barriers, believing that these public perceptions are often more limiting than blindness itself. But his message about “daring to fail” and “not letting obstacles stand in the way of the dreams of our lives” resonates with all people, blind and sighted.

Erik is an acrobatic skydiver, long distance biker, marathon runner, skier, mountaineer, ice climber, and rock climber.Erik is also a certified sky and scuba diver.In addition to being a world-class athlete, Erik is also the author of the book, Touch the Top of the World, published in ten countries and six languages.

Erik’s second book, ‘The Adversity Advantage: Turning Everyday Struggles Into Everyday Greatness’, co-authored with business guru and best selling author, Dr. Paul Stoltz, was released by Simon and Schuster in January, 2007. Through Paul’s science and Erik’s experience, the book shares seven “summits” for harnessing the power of adversity and turning it into the never-ending fuel to growth and innovation.

Erik’s award winning film, ‘Farther Than the Eye Can See’, shot in the same stunning quality HDTV format as the ‘Star Wars’ prequels, was ranked in the top twenty adventure films of all time by Men’s Journal.

Erik’s speaking career has taken him around the world, from Hong Kong to Switzerland, from Thailand to the 2005 APEC Summit in Chile. He speaks to audiences on harnessing the power of adversity, the importance of a “rope team,” and the daily struggle to pursue your dreams. Clearly, Erik’s accomplishments show that one does not have to have perfect eyesight to have extraordinary vision.

Source: Eric’s website –

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Success story of Satyendranath Bose – the Indian behind God’s particle

The discovery of a new subatomic particle, possibly the Higgs boson considered “a key to the cosmic riddle”, has put the spotlight once again on Satyendra Nath Bose,the Indian scientist from whose surname the word ‘boson’ is derived.

Satyendranath Bose was born on the first of January 1894 in Calcutta. Satyendranath was the eldest of his seven children; the rest were all daughters. His father Surendranath was employed in the Engineering Department of the East India Railway. He later set up his own chemical and pharmaceutical company.

Though Surendranath Bose lost his wife at an early age, without losing heart, he brought up all his children well.
Satyendranath Bose’s mother, Amodini Devi, had received little formal education but she skilfully brought up her large family of seven children.

His primary education began in the local English language school established by the British during the colonial period in India. When the British decided to divide the province of Bengal into two administrative units in 1907, his father transferred Bose to a Bengali-language secondary school. There he was encouraged in his interest in science by his headmaster and his mathematics teacher. An early influence was his physics teacher Jagadischandra Bose.

Satyendranath moved to the Hindu School in 1907. It was here that his interest in mathematics and science began, and as is so often the case, it was due to an outstanding mathematics teacher coupled with encouragement from the headmaster. As a student of the Hindu High School in Calcutta he established a new record, scoring 110 marks for a maximum of 100 in mathematics. He had solved some problems in mathematics by more than one method. That was why his teacher gave him more marks than the maximum. Zeal for work and eagerness to learn new things had taken root in him even in his childhood. Young Satyen loved to improvise apparatus for his experiments. At school, in collaboration with his fellow students, he constructed a telescope and other scientific instruments.

Bose later attended Presidency College, also in Calcutta, earning the highest marks at each institution while fellow student Meghnad Saha came second. At Presidency College, he met great scientists like Jagdish Chandra Bose and Prafulla Chandra Roy, who inspired him to take up a career in scientific research.

At the age of nineteen, Bose became a graduate. On the 5th of May 1914, at the age of twenty, In 1920, he completed his post graduation, getting the M.Sc. degree.

Bose started his career in 1916 as a Lecturer in Physics in Calcutta University. He served here from 1916 to 1921. He joined the newly established Dhaka University in 1921 as a Reader in the Department of Physics. In 1924,

Bose’s first important contribution in theoretical physics was a joint research paper with saha. The paper titled “on the influence of the finite volume of molecules on the equation of state”, was published in the philosophical magazine in 1918. The next year bose published two papers in the bulletin of the calcutta mathematical society. One was on “the stress equation of equilibrium” and the other “on horpolhod”. Both these papers were on pure mathematics. In 1920 he again published a joint paper with saha on the equation of state in the philosophical magazine. This was followed by bose’s paper “on the deduction of rydberg’s law from the quantum theory of spectral emission” in 1920. This was also published in philosophical magazine. Then there was no publication from bose for three years.

Along with Saha, Bose prepared the first book in English based on German & French translations of original papers on Einstein’s special and general relativity in 1919.

Between 1918 and 1956, Bose published only twenty-six original scientific papers, most of which dealt with mathematical statistics, electromagnetic properties of the ionosphere, x-ray crystallography, thermoluminescence, and the unified field theory.

While presenting a lecture at the University of Dhaka on the theory of radiation and the ultraviolet catastrophe, Bose intended to show his students that the contemporary theory was inadequate, because it predicted results not in accordance with experimental results. During this lecture, Bose committed an error in applying the theory, which unexpectedly gave a prediction that agreed with the experiment (he later adapted this lecture into a short article called Planck’s Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta).

The derivation of Planck’s formula had not been to Planck’s satisfaction, and Einstein too was unhappy with it. Bose was able to derive the formula for radiation from Boltzmann’s statistics. The paper, and his method of deriving Planck’s radiation formula, was enthusiastically endorsed by Einstein who saw at once that Bose had removed a major objection against light quanta.This paper was only four pages long but it was highly significant. This little article brought about a great change in the life of Satyendranath.

Bose sent his paper to the philosophical magazine but to his disappointment this time his paper was turned down.
Under these circumstances, Bose re-sent the paper to Albert Einstein in June 1924, with a fervent appeal for his perusal and opinion. “Though a complete stranger to you, I do not feel any hesitation in making such a request,” he wrote.

Einstein immediately recognised the significance of this paper. This paper was going to substantiate and revolutionise his theory of photoelectric effect. Einstein himself translated Bose’s paper into German and sent it to Zeitschrift für Physik with his endorsement for publication. With his demigod status, Einstein’s words carried much weight. It was promptly published, and immediately Bose shot into prominence.

Einstein extended Bose’s treatment to material particles whose number is conserved and published several papers on this extension.

Bose’s “error” is now called Bose–Einstein statistics. This result derived by Bose laid the foundation of quantum statistics, as acknowledged by Einstein and Dirac.S. N. Bose’s work on particle statistics (c. 1922), which clarified the behaviour of photons (the particles of light in an enclosure) and opened the door to new ideas on statistics of Microsystems that obey the rules of quantum theory, was one of the top ten achievements of 20th century Indian science.
His work was wholeheartedly supported and appreciated by the leading lights in quantum theory, such as Louise de Broglie, Erwin Schroedinger, Paul Dirac and Heisenburg.

In honour of Bose’ Paul Dirac coined the word ‘Boson’ for those particles which obey Bose’s statistics. In atomic theory, only Fermions (named after Enrico Fermi) and Bosons were named after physicists. What a wonderful distinction conferred on our great scientist.

One kind of boson is the Higgs boson. It is described by physicists in theory, but none has ever seen one yet. The ‘boson’ in the Higgs boson particle, whose search and ultimate detection was one of the longest and most expensive in the history of science, owes its name to Bose.

Now Dacca University opened its eyes and recognized the worth of Bose. At that time he had only a Master’s Degree in Science and had no higher academic qualification. Yet the University readily gave him the money for a tour of Europe.

Bose first visited Paris in 1924. He stayed there for a year. He conducted research in the Madame Curie Laboratory, which had special facilities. Here he became acquainted with several physicists. The next year, he left Paris for Berlin to join Einstein and work with him.

In 1926, Satyendranath Bose was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Physics., he taught physics to the postgraduate students in Bengali.He was named Khaira professor of physics at Calcutta University in 1945. His students considered him an inspiring teacher and his ability to deliver lectures without notes was legendary. This was a skill he developed as a young man because of his poor vision.

Bose was president of the National Institute of Sciences of India in 1949-1950. He also founded the Science Association of Bengali in 1948. This organization was dedicated to popularizing science in his native language.

Bose became the dean of the Faculty of Sciences from 1952 to 1956. He left Calcutta to become vice-chancellor of Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal, and served in this position for three years. During 1953-55, at the age of sixty he performed a tour de force and published some important papers in Unified Field Theory, showing that his mathematical powers were still as keen as ever.”

Bose served in the upper house of the Indian parliament from 1952 to 1958. He received the Padma Vibhushan In 1958 he was elected fellow of the British Royal Society. In 1959, he was appointed as the National Professor, the highest honor in the country for a scholar, which he held for 15 years. In 1986 S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences was established by Government of India, in Calcutta in honour of this world renowned Indian scientist.

Bose was a great populariser of science. He strongly felt that it was duty to present science to the common man in his own language. For popularizing science Bose wrote in Bengali. This is the reason why his contribution in popularizing science is not known outside Bengal.

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Success story of dish washer who became a dosa king

Coming from a poor background, in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin district, Prem Ganapathy had no choice but to abandon his dreams for higher studies, in order to support his family and siblings.

After Ganapathy completed his tenth standard, he did not want to study further. “My teacher told me that I should continue studying but I told her frankly that I do not want to study. We had lot of financial problems so I wanted to work and earn money, help my family. Even getting water and firewood was an arduous task. We had to walk miles to get water and firewood,” says Ganapathy.

His father had a tobacco business which ended in a loss. He also incurred huge losses in the farm. With seven children, his parents struggled to make ends meet.

The Mumbai saga

He first started out doing odd jobs in Chennai, which fetched Rs 250 a month. He met a young boy who promised him a good job in Mumbai.

“He said if I pay him Rs 200, I would get job with a salary of Rs 1,200. I wanted to leave but knew my parents would not let me go. I was only 17 years old then. So I left Chennai without informing my parents,” says Ganapathy.

They got down at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a place where thousands of migrants land every day in search of a better livelihood.

“I was scared but I was willing to take the risk. We took a local train to Bandra and I was eagerly waiting to see where I would begin my new career. He took me to a tea shop and vanished. My worst fears came true. He had just dumped me there,” Ganapathy reminisces.

There was no job as the man promised. Instead he was abandoned in Bandra, a Mumbai suburb. Hunger was his only companion when he roamed the streets of Mumbai in search of a job. But this boy did not lose hope, he decided to stay back and fight for survival.

“My father instilled in me a lot of positive energy. This is what kept me going strong. I have tried to see an opportunity in every loss.”.

The first job

It was the most unforgettable day in his life. He could not speak Hindi, he did not know anyone in the city nor did he have any money. Finally, he met a friendly taxi driver and told him his story.

“He took pity on me and said they can collect some money and send him home. The train fare was Rs 121 then. But I said I will not go back home. I will do some work and live here. I slept in the temple compound till I found a job in a bakery in Mahim to clean pizza-baking vessels. I used to sleep in the shop itself,” he says.

After working there for six months, he found another job, to deliver pizza bread to a hotel in Chembur. Later, he moved to Navi Mumbai where he started working as a dishwasher in a restaurant called Gurudev.

“As a Tamilian, I faced discrimination in the beginning. We were given only kitchen work to do. After a while, I started to move out of the hotel, to give tea/coffee to shopkeepers around that area. I used to earn Rs 1,000, three times more than the other boys as this service was based on a commission basis,” he says.

A sincere worker

Ganapathy was meticulous and sincere in his work. Unlike others, he never got into squabbles with anyone.

“I used to keep a note of every person’s requirement, some wanted strong tea, some wanted it without sugar. So I established a good rapport with the outside world. One person who had a small business saw that I was enterprising and hard working so he suggested that we open a food stall on the street on a joint partnership. He invested the money and told me to do the work and he promised me half of the profit,” he says.

The stall near the market area did good business. But the person duped him. He refused to give Ganapathy any share of the profit as promised and said he would give only Rs 1,200 as salary. So he called off the partnership and decided that it is best to do something on his own.

The food stall business

Ganapathy realised that starting a food stall would be the best way to earn good money. Two years after he landed in Mumbai, in 1992, he went back home, got his brothers to help him. “I borrowed some money from friends and rented a handcart for Rs 150. It was really difficult in the initial days. Many times, the municipality vans used to come and pick our handcart. But I was very positive and determined. I never gave up hope,” says Ganapathy.

“I scored on account of cleanliness and the variety of food I offered. I got the recipes from my mother and brought the masala from my village. . . so the food I offered had a distinct flavour, which made it an instant hit.”

A turning point

Finally, in 1998, Ganapathy decided to take a kiosk outside the Vashi railway station in Navi Mumbai to open the first outlet called Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza. Fortunately he got good response from the first day itself. “I added more variety to the menu. Along with his dosa outlet, I also tried my luck by investing in a Chinese restaurant, but it flopped. However, I tried to add the Chinese flavour in the dosas, which worked very well,” he says.

His experiments with dosas resulted in exotic varieties like American Chopsuey, Schezwan Dosa, Paneer chilly, Spring roll dosa to name a few. Within a year, Dosa Plaza had created 25 original varieties of dosas.

“In 2003, a new mall called Centre One opened in Vashi. The people from mall management team who knew me suggested that I open an outlet in the mall.”

So Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza joined the big league of restaurants to open a swanky outlet in the mall which attracted a lot of attention. Dosa Plaza has indeed become a runaway success.

Today, Dosa Plaza has 35 outlets across 10 states in India with a turnover of over Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million).

His biggest recognition came when his story was published in Rashmi Bansal’s book ‘Connect the Dots’ as one of 20 best enterprising individuals without an MBA.

Any regrets on not studying? “Well, not at all. But speaking in English becomes difficult when I go abroad. Other than that I don’t think I would have learned so much in any school. My experience has been my biggest teacher,” he says.

He has risen from humble dishwasher to owner of the fast food chain ‘Dosa Plaza’.

Does he ever think about the man who abandoned him? “In a way, I reached here and achieved so much because of him. I wonder where he is now…”

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