The Inclusivity of Hope

David Toole was born with a congenital disorder where his spine failed to connect with his hips.  His legs were amputated when he was 18 months old.  In spite of his disability, he was undeterred in seeking out experiences.  He attended a school for students with disabilities and later took a 6-month computer course in college.  That led to a boring job with the British postal service.

He decided to pursue a different career and attended a workshop put on by a dance company.  He was inspired and told his mother he wanted to become a dancer.  Her response was:  “Can I remind you that you don’t have any legs?”  He was convinced that he could become a dancer.

David had remarkable body control and strength.  The use of his arms for movement gave the appearance that his body was in flight.

Once he completed his study with the dance company, he performed worldwide with dance companies.  He also appeared on TV and in films.

Perhaps his most famous achievement as a dancer was when he was the star in the opening of the London Paralympic Games in 2012.  An audience of 146 million people watched with amazement at his gracefulness as his dance routine took him soaring into the sky.

David, for all of his acclaim, was very humble.  He had a curmudgeonly personality but always gave time to help young artists.  When he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE), he accepted it with all humility.

It’s hard for any of us to imagine being told we aren’t allowed to hope for something that we have a passion for.  Think about the history of the world and the infinitesimal fraction of that time when inclusiveness has become a value shared by many societies.  Inclusiveness is an acceptance that anyone should be able to pursue their dreams no matter their personal circumstances.  Unfortunately, societies still have those who discourage the pursuit of ambitions or are there to say:  “I told you so” when individuals struggle.

In almost every walk of life, we can now point to pioneers like David Toole.  We are enriched and inspired by their achievements.  The David Toole’s in our world also are role models for overcoming struggles and fulfilling their hopes.  Just imagine how often the words:  “I can too” are uttered when watching or hearing about the achievements of a pioneer like David Toole.

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“A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.”  (Islamic Proverb)

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