Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Fire in my Heart

There have been many people who have inspired the world with their courage and strength. Some are well-known to us; others are hidden within the anonymity of their everyday lives. All of these individuals have one thing in common; they have never given up in the face of adversity and extreme challenges.

A Fire in My Heart is a new series of articles that will shine the spotlight on those whose heart’s burn with a desire to rise above what life has thrown at them; a desire to move forward with faith and love, and to share their experiences with others. These are their stories.

Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic was born in 1982 in Brisbane, Australia. He was born without arms or legs. His extreme disability set him at an immediate disadvantage, and would later find him questioning why he had been born this way.

Medically, there were no answers to Nick’s question; no reasons to be given, which undoubtedly contributed to his depression, loneliness and self-esteem issues, along with growing up in a world that has very distinct ideas on what is classified as “normal.”

The challenges this young 28 year-old man has had to face are great; greater than what most of us have had to face; greater than what most of us could ever deal with, but Nick has drawn from his enormous inner strength and his faith in God, to rise above his disability and use it for the greater good.

After graduating with a double Bachelor’s degree from Griffith University in Logan, Australia, Nick began sharing his story and encouraging others through motivational speaking. As he says: I found the purpose of my existence, and also the purpose of my circumstance. There’s a purpose for why you’re in the fire.  

Nick found his purpose, and now inspires others to find theirs through his testimony, DVD’s, interviews and his book Life Without Limbs: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life, which was published last year. He now resides in California, USA, where he is the President of an international 501c3 non-profit organization; Life Without Limbs.

If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart! ~ Nick Vujicic



Diane Rose

Diane Rose had suffered the effects of glaucoma all her life, but in a cruel twist of fate, and four days before she was to undergo a cornea transplant, an accident took what remaining eye-sight she had left and she became legally blind.

Overcoming the obstacles of having no sight might seem insurmountable to some, but for Diane, she has used her impairment to inspire others with her strength and determination. Lack of vision has not hindered her from living a normal life. Not only does she give motivational talks, Diane was also a journalist in the Nashville music scene, but probably her greatest achievement is one many of us might find hard to comprehend.

Since 1988, Diane has made hundreds of beautifully crafted quilts of all different shapes and sizes, and she does it by feel. Quilting is not easy; it takes painstaking hours to assemble and sew the intricate patterns to form these works of art, but for someone who has no power of sight, it is an extraordinary feat of perseverance and determination.

Diane draws her strength from God, and uses her blindness as a tool to motivate others to overcome the obstacles in their own lives, proving that nothing is impossible if you have the strength, spirit and energy to rise above and move forward with a positive mind and loving heart.

The way I look at it, if I can do what I have done, without sight, how much can you do? ~ Diane Rose



Derek Redmond

From the age of seven, when Derek Redmond first joined the Milton Keynes Athletic Club, he was destined to become one of Britain’s top 400m athletes. In a career that saw him face serious injury and multiple operations that forced him to withdraw from many major competitions, Derek set many records and won both World silver and gold medals, proving himself a force to be reckoned with.

In 1992, Derek was a favorite to win the 400m at the Barcelona Olympic Games, but something went wrong during the semifinals. Despite his preparedness and confidence, 250m from the finish line Derek’s hamstring tears. The moments that followed will forever be held synonymous with the Olympic spirit, and that of the determination, will and courage of the human spirit.

In excruciating pain, Derek picked himself up off the ground, and hobbled half a lap around the track before he was joined by his father who had sitting in the stadium watching his son’s agony. To a standing ovation, they finished the race arm-in-arm, inspiring thousands of people by simply not giving up.

Afterwards, Derek told London’s The Guardian newspaper: Everything I had worked for was finished. I hated everybody. I hated the world. I hated hamstrings. I hated it all. I felt so bitter that I was injured again. I told myself I had to finish. I kept hopping round.

Derek is now a motivational speaker who shares his story to help inspire others to overcome their obstacles, to help build teamship and set goals for the future. He is also a patron of a charity called Round Table Children’s Wish, which is similar to the Make a Wish Foundation.



Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. ~ T. S. Eliot

© Valmai Owens, 2011. All Rights Reserved.
No reproduction without permission from author.

This article appears in the publication Dot to Dot: Keeping Michael’s Legacy Alive, and its content is the property of the authors and the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait. Articles and exclusive interviews are copyrighted; therefore there should be no republication without permission. You may email edito@michaeljacksontributeportrait.com with any requests for republication. If permission is given, credit must be given to the author, Dot to Dot: Keeping Michael's Legacy Alive and the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait.


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