The very famous Stephen Hawking, has left an indelible mark in history after waging, what is arguably one of the most heroic battles against disability. He achieved the pinnacle of intellectual success despite a disease that limited him since the early age of 21. This Cambridge Cosmologist set new benchmarks of positivity & vitality as he faced life’s challenge head-on and achieved such acclaim with a the never-say-die spirit.
Stephen Hawking: What Caused the Disability?
Hawking had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a condition in which neutrons that control body’s voluntary actions, begin to die causing the person to lose control over his or her own body. This leads to shrinking of muscles, eventually causing difficulty in basic life processes as breathing and speaking.
Doctors at the time gave him life expectancy of two years. But he fought and went on to become the most acclaimed scientist-academic.
It was a slow progressing motor neurone disease that was diagnosed at the early age of 21. As a student at the University of Oxford, he was visiting his parents during vacations when they noticed physical changes in him like slurring of speech. On investigating he was diagnosed with ALS.
Stephen Hawking, Mozart & Beethoven: The Common Factor
These three men of exceptional intellectual and creative genius were assailed with disabilities that proved to be great impediments in leading a normal life. Yet each of them emerged to be phenomenon in their own right. Beethoven the exceptional composer, celebrated as one of the best that world over, became deaf around the age of 30. Imagine a musician going deaf! Mozart another composer par excellence is often associated with Tourette’s syndrome, that possibly caused Mozart’s frequent facial grimaces, inadvertent repetitive movements of hands and feet.
Hawking who is often compared with these two geniuses, himself confronted the challenge and showcased how physical disability can be no impediment for a man of rock-solid resolve. World will remember this phenomenon forever. RIP