Rieslingfreak wine label owner
John Hughes: Australia
John was born in 1974 and has mild cerebral palsy. In 1984, John’s family purchased their first vineyard in the Clare Valley, South Australia, which ignited John’s passion for wine. He worked on the family vineyard and other wineries, before travelling overseas to visit the wine regions of France and Italy.
John is now based in the Barossa Valley and has his own wine label, Rieslingfreak.
John inspired all Australians during his time as a contestant on the 2011 series of MasterChef Australia.
Author, Writer, Freelance Consultant, Researcher, Lecturer. Chairperson, ADAPT Rights Group (ARG)
Malini Chib: India
Malini Chib was born with cerebral palsy which prompted her mother Mithu Alur to start the Spastics Society of India (now ADAPT) in 1972. Malini is the first Indian with cerebral palsy to hold two master degrees and study in a foreign university (Oxford). She is Founder and co-chairperson of the ADAPT Rights Group.
An independent writer, Malini has authored a national award winning biography ‘One Little Finger’.
She travels extensively empowering people with disabilities (PWDs) and encouraging policy changes to benefit their community.
Two-time Emmy nominated actress
Cheryl Hines: USA
Cheryl Hines is a two-time Emmy nominee for her role on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. She is currently starring in the ABC comedy Suburgatory and this summer co-starred in the feature film PASADENA.
Cheryl's feature film directorial debut, Serious Moonlight, premiered with acclaim at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Cheryl was Executive Producer/creator of the NBC series School Pride and is among Hollywood's busiest film actresses.
She has a nephew with CP and serves on UCP's national Board of Trustees.
Chartered Specialist Physiotherapist
Renjith Joseph: Ireland
Renjith Joseph, MISCP, MCSP, APAM, is an experienced Chartered Specialist Physiotherapist who has implemented real change in people's life and organizations’ his skills and areas of expertise involve the management of Children and Adults with Physical and Intellectual disabilities.
Renjith is a strong advocate for people with disabilities should:
- Be able to choose where they live.
- Be able to choose who they live with.
- Have the same housing choices as other members of the community.
He is working as a Physiotherapy Manager in ‘Ability West’ Galway, Ireland. Ability West is a voluntary organization dedicated to enabling people with physical & intellectual disabilities to realize their dreams and ambitions and to take their rightful place in society.
Over the past 50 years Ability West has grown from Strength to Strength and now provides High quality Community based services and supports to Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities through over 50 Centres’ and 4 Special National Schools in County Galway, Ireland.
Co-star on the Emmy-winning drama Breaking Bad
RJ Mitte: USA
RJ Mitte co-stars on the Emmy-winning drama Breaking Bad. Just as his character on the show has cerebral palsy so does Mitte.
He next will be starring in the fantasy feature film House of Last Things. He will serve as Juror and Celebrity Youth Ambassador for the inaugural Burbank International Film Festival this summer.
He serves as a spokesperson for the National Disability Institute's Real Economic Impact Tour, for "I AM PWD," the campaign which advocates for actors with disabilities, and for "Beyond Diversity -- the future is now." As a national guest speaker, Mitte openly talks about the ways he has overcome obstacles to achieve his goals.
In 2011, he became a Celebrity Ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy.
Author and Editor
Pınar Deniz Küçükyıldırım: Turkey
Pınar is an author and editor, that is what she does for living, and is an adult-child. She likes to look, hear, touch and taste. Reading is something she met at her 20 and fell in love with. Yes, she believes in love, and she is in love with life as well as her husband.
Sometimes she is scared but never runs away, she may get hurt but never gives up. She loves people, and she respects who deserves to be respected. She knows she has features to be respected and she considers cerebral palsy as one her natural features, just like being blond or having blue eyes.
She loves dancing, drinks a lot and gets drunk sometimes, like many others. She can not live without watching movies, going to theater or having long walks alone. She thinks her being outdoor adds a special color to the world and that is why she calls all other people with disabilities out to the streets.
She is volunteered and proud to work for Spastic Children’s Foundation of Turkey.
Olympic Gold Medalist (freestyle skiing)
Alexandre Bilodeau: Canada
On February 14, 2012, Alexandre Bilodeau wrote a page in history by becoming the first Olympic gold medalist on Canadian soil. A model of perseverance and a source of inspiration to many, he is proving to be one of Canada’s most talented young athletes. Alexandre fell in love with freestyle skiing becoming, at the age of 14, the best junior Canadian in three disciplines: jumps, moguls and dual moguls. Possessing lofty goals, Alexandre won a World Cup championship, and had his Olympic medal hopes realized at the Vancouver Games.
Long before he wore the gold medal around his neck, he learnt that determination and courage were essential not only to win at the Olympic games but in life. His Brother Frederic, who has cerebral palsy, had been the inspiration of this valuable lesson
Blogger & Speaker
Laura Forde: USA
Laura was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound three ounces and given ten percent odds for survival. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three.
After graduating from college, she continued writing and doing what she loves to do most; speaking to groups about her life experiences and sharing what she has learned from her journey.
Her blog lifeofthedifferentlyabled was created after discovering that the online community lacked the voice of people in her situation.
In its first year, the site saw over 20,000 hits from all over the world. Her readers are from all walks of life; some with disabilities, parents of children, professionals, and others who seek to gain a better understanding of the world of the differently abled.
To connect with Laura regarding her blog or a speaking engagement visit: lifeofthedifferentlyabled.com
Geri Jewell: USA
Geri was the first person with a visible disability to be featured on a primetime sit com, "The Facts of Life". In addition to her numerous reoccurring roles on "The Young & the Restless, "Strong Medicine", "Deadwood" and "Alcatraz", Geri is recognized as one of the leading speakers and advocates for those with a disability.
Her autobiography, "I'm Walking As Straight As I Can" has opened many new doors including a recent appearances in Washington, DC for The White House and the National Council on Disabilites. She is also the recipient of the Media Access/AFTRA Award of Merit, The National Rehabilitation's Victory Award and the Independent Living Legacy Award.
Chris Fonseca: USA
Chris is a real pioneer as a comedian with cerebral palsy. Now in his 25th of entertaining, his appearances read like a comedy "Who's Who". Chris was the first (and only) comedian with a visible disability to be featured on "Late Night With David Letterman", headlined at the San Antonio Latino Comedy Festival and the Montreal Laugh Festival. He has also appeared on various Comedy Central shows including "Live at the IMPROV.
Chris works the American comedy club circuit and has written material for such comedians as Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Roseanne Arnold. Chris Fonseca is the first (and only) person with a visible disability to entertain on The Late Night Show with David Letterman, something that had not been done in the show's 18 year history. Chris allows his Cerebral Palsy to be the foundation of many of his stories. He notes that this helps to break down many preconceived barriers about CP. He has released 2 CDs, 1997's Not Tonight, I Have Cerebral Palsy and 2001's Get in the Van.
World CP Challenge Coordinator – Canada, Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta
Cassie Hawrysh: Canada
A former national volleyball and track & field athlete - Cassie moved in Calgary, Alberta in July of 2009. Despite her prairie roots - born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba - her inaugural head-first trip from the top of the track at Canada Olympic Park in October of that same year, told her it was all downhill from there.
Her first season saw her named Female Rookie of the Year and with every race since, she has climbed the ranks. Landing on the podium more often than not, she has made impressive strides and continues to raise the bar. "With a strong team around me and incredible support staff in my corner, I will proudly represent Team Canada around the globe – and ultimately, plan to challenge for the gold in both Sochi, Russia and PyeongChang, South Korea at the 2014 & 2018 Winter Olympics."
With a degree in Journalism and passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle, Cassie is proud to be both the World CP Challenge Coordinator for Canada and an Athlete Ambassador for World CP Day.
“We are each unique in our abilities – and regardless of the circumstance life presents us – each and every one of us can do anything we put our mind to! I witness this incredible attitude from each and every one of our members here at the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta, and it never ceases to inspire me. World CP Day is an unbelievable opportunity for us to unite as an entire globe and truly create change for those living with Cerebral Palsy.”