People with cerebral palsy have gone on to be famous actors, athletes, musicians, and even beauty pageant contestants. Celebrities like RJ Mitte (pictured above), Keah Brown, and Abbey Curran are living proof that this condition shouldn’t set limits on anyone. Learn more about famous celebrities with cerebral palsy.
RJ Mitte is an actor best known for playing Walter White Jr. on the popular TV show “Breaking Bad.” Mitte suffered from brain damage at birth and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 3. As a child, he underwent over 10 years of therapy in order to reduce his symptoms and have more control over his body.
On “Breaking Bad,” the character of Walter White Jr. also has cerebral palsy, but it’s more severe than Mitte’s.
Mitte has used the attention from “Breaking Bad” to help others with this condition. Today, Mitte works with a number of disability charities, including I AM PWD (Inclusion in the Arts and Media of Performers With Disabilities). This organization works to increase the number of opportunities for actors with disabilities.
Mitte believes that good self-esteem is key for those with cerebral palsy.
“People with disabilities can grow up thinking they have a weakness because they are told: ‘You will never do this properly, you will never walk properly or talk properly.’ That’s all they hear. But you have to look past that.”
— RJ Mitte
Justin Gallegos is the first runner with cerebral palsy to sign a Nike endorsement deal. Gallegos received the contract in 2018 while still in college. As a way to increase visibility for the condition, Gallegos signed the contract on World Cerebral Palsy Day (October 6).
Gallegos’ achievement shows that hard work and dedication can pay off. As a child, Gallegos had to use crutches in order to walk properly, saying he could “barely put one foot in front of the other” in a 2018 Instagram post.
He turned to running in high school to reduce the symptoms of cerebral palsy and improve his muscle strength. Despite facing challenges at first (like falling) due to his condition, he now participates in half-marathons and is interested in moving up to the marathon.
Today, Gallegos inspires runners with disabilities around the world. He is currently working with Nike to develop clothing and shoes for handicapped athletes.
Keah Brown is an author and journalist who started #DisabledAndCute, a term that went viral in 2017. Her work focuses on those with disabilities like cerebral palsy and advocates for improved mental health, self-esteem, and accessibility.
Brown was born with spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which limits her control over the right side of her body. She struggled with her self-worth due to this condition and created #DisabledAndCute to spread positivity.
Brown published her first memoir, “The Pretty One,” in 2019 through Simon & Schuster. She has another book, “Sam’s Super Seats,” that is set to be published in 2022. Brown’s work also has appeared in high-profile publications such as The New York Times, Teen Vogue, and Elle.
Dan Keplinger is an artist with cerebral palsy. He is famous for creating his artwork with the assistance of a head stick, as his condition limits the control over his hands and other limbs. His work and life story were the focus of an Oscar-winning documentary in 2000.
Keplinger chose the artist name “King Gimp” as a way to take a word normally associated with a negative and turn it into something positive.
“This is about taking control of the situation and making it work for you. I look at my disability as a part of my personality. So, I fully embrace it for the good and the bad. You need to turn the bad around, so it makes you better as a person.”
— Dan Keplinger
Nicolas Hamilton is a race car driver in England and the half-brother of racing star Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton was born eight weeks premature with a type of spastic cerebral palsy that affects the lower half of the body (spastic diplegia).
Like his brother, Hamilton found a passion for racing. Today, he uses a modified race car in order to compete. He has also talked at length about how his older brother helped him with his self-esteem when he was dealing with bullying growing up.
Hamilton decided early in life that his cerebral palsy would not define who he was.
“It’s been very difficult. But, you know, if it wasn’t for my condition I wouldn’t be here today. It’s made me who I am and I’m proud of it.”
— Nicolas Hamilton
Abbey Curran is a beauty pageant contestant with cerebral palsy. Curran won Miss Iowa and 2008 and participated in Miss USA that same year. She was the first Miss USA contestant with a disability.
To encourage other girls and women with disabilities, Curran founded the “Miss You Can Do It” pageant while still in high school. Since the first pageant in 2004, the event has been held annually each year. In 2013, HBO made a documentary about the pageant and its positive impact on young girls with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
“This pageant is based on my life. My hope is to give these beautiful ladies fire and determination. If they run towards their dreams they will get there — all they need is someone to push them, someone who believes in them, and someone to say ‘you can do it.’”
— Abbey Curran
No Limits for Celebrities With Cerebral Palsy
As the celebrities with cerebral palsy above show, this condition does not have to stop people from achieving success or fame. Those with cerebral palsy should be encouraged to follow their dreams because anything is possible.
A good place to start is by encouraging children with cerebral palsy early in life to find activities they are passionate about. This can be encouraged by pursuing recreational activities, art programs, or other hobbies.
If you are looking for more resources to help your child live the best life possible, our team can help. Contact our site today for more information.