7 Famous People With Cerebral Palsy (3rd is Really Unbelievable)

By Maximillian Wollner


Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills usually caused by brain damage before, or during a child’s birth, as well as in its developmental years. CP is a non-degenerative condition that affects about three children per 1,000 births, and currently there is no cure. The effects of CP can be as mild as a minor limp, but the worst cases usually include paralysis of the legs or hands, speech impairment, and sometimes mental retardation. However, many people live successful lives with this condition, spreading awareness about living well with CP.


2 / 8   JOSH BLUE

Josh Blue is an American stand-up comedian who is most famous for winning season four of the reality show Last Comic Standing in 2006. He uses his self-deprecating sense of humor, challenging others to overcome pre-conceived notions about those with cerebral palsy.  Blue said the purpose of his appearance on the show was to “make people aware of the fact that people with disabilities can make an impact.”


Diagnosed with CP at age 2, Abbey Nicole Curran made history when became the first Miss USA contestant with a disability, representing Iowa in 2008. Since then she made a memorable appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and she founded the Miss You Can Do It Pageant for young girls with special needs. The pageant was featured in HBO’s Summer Documentary Series in 2013.



Although he wasn’t diagnosed with CP until he was 11, Bonner Paddock played sports as if he did not have any physical limitations. In 2008, he became the first person with CP to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro unassisted, and his journey was featured in the documentary Beyond Limits. In 2012, he broke another record, becoming the first person with the condition to complete the Ironman Triathlon. He is the founder and chairman of the OM Foundation, which raises money to build early-learning centers that provide various types of therapies for children with disabilities.



Featured in the Oscar-winning documentary short King Gimp, Dan Keplinger is an accomplished artist and motivational speaker. He developed CP due to complications from birth but that didn’t slow him down. He attended public school and he holds two degrees from Towson University. His art has been featured in several galleries across the country, and it is a testament to his talent and ability.


Geri Jewell is an award-winning actress, comedian, author, and motivational speaker who received national recognition for being the first person with CP to be cast in a prime time television series, starring in NBC’s The Facts of Life and HBO’s Deadwood. In 2011, she published her autobiography, I’m Walking as Straight as I Can, detailing her experience in Hollywood with disability.



Christy Brown was an Irish painter, poet and author born with a severe case of CP. For years he was incapable of any movement or speech until he gained control of his left foot. With the help of his mother he learned to speak, read, and write. He is most famous for his autobiography, My Left Foot, and being portrayed by Daniel Day Lewis in a movie of the same name.


8 / 8   RJ MITTE

RJ Mitte is best known for his role as Walter “Flynn” White Jr., on the AMC television seriesBreaking Bad. In 2006, he moved to Hollywood, where he started working with a talent manager in hopes that he could find roles that would educate viewers about CP. He is a prominent voice in cerebral palsy awareness, serving as spokesman for actors with disabilities for the Screen Actors Guild, and as an ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy.


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