Everyone Has A Story

Nine true stories of overcoming adversity

Here are nine stories of famous people – and some not-so-famous – who overcame adversity, going through tough times that most of us will never have to face, yet they became even tougher.

Shark attack
When she was only 13 years-old, American surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm from a shark attack. A mere three weeks after the attack, she returned to surfing, eventually turning pro. Bethany wrote about her experience in her autobiography, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board and continues to share her faith with audiences worldwide.

A life-altering illness
Before running for office and later becoming a four-time President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt had been paralyzed from the waist down by polio.

Academic struggles
A poor student throughout his academic career and unable to obtain a job in physics upon graduation, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein formulated the theory of general relativity and was a major contributor to the field of quantum mechanics.

Catastrophic injury
After winning his high school soccer game, Marc Zupan and his teammates went drinking at a local bar. Drunk, he crawled into the back of a pickup truck that his friend Chris Igoe owned. When an inebriated Chris decided to drive his pickup home, he didn’t realize his friend was in the back. Chris spun out and Marc was thrown out of the back of his truck and into a canal. Fourteen hours later he was found by a passerby; however, Marc had already suffered hypothermia, leading to his becoming a paraplegic.
In spite of his life-changing injuries, Marc went on to play wheelchair rugby, becoming a two-time quad rugby champion and even a quad rugby player of the year in 2004. Also, that year, Marc’s team won a bronze medal for the U.S. at the Summer Paralympics Games and, in 2008, his team won gold medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games.

Born into slavery, Frederick Douglass taught himself to read, later becoming a gifted orator and leader of the abolitionist movement.

Terminal illness
Now a New York Times best-selling author, health and wellness activist, at 32 Kris Carr was diagnosed with epithelioid hemangioendothelioma cancer, considered incurable at the time. Although most patients would have given up hope, Kris chose to battle her cancer with a healthy lifestyle, while, documenting her experience in her blog “Crazy, Sexy Cancer.” These days she brings inspiration to others through her best-selling books.

A concentration camp
The Nazis imprisoned Victor Frankl in a concentration camp, where his wife and family were killed. It was by enduring these conditions that he was inspired to write his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. It has been lauded as one of 10 most influential books in the United States. At the time of his death in 1997, the book had sold over 10 million copies and had been translated into 24 languages.

Poor self-image
Growing up, Karen Ellis was constantly urged by her mother to be someone different. Karen’s mom colored Karen’s hair, wanted her to get colored contacts, take singing lessons, piano lessons, and go to modeling school. That experience made Karen feel she was never good enough and even affected the way she saw God.
Karen graduated from high school and went away to college. There she was determined to be with people who shared her interests. In this group, Karen felt accepted for herself, giving her the confidence to really bloom as a person. She became friendly, funny, outgoing, and making as many friends as possible.
Through her blog “Warrior Women,” Karen now encourages other women to be whom God created them to be, as they are created in His image, wonderfully made.

Michael Jordan wasn’t always great. In fact, he was cut from his high school varsity basketball team his sophomore year. But that didn’t stop him. Michael persevered and is now hailed by many as the greatest basketball player of all time.

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