Thursday, Apr 12 2012
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Nicholas James Vujicic ; born 4 December 1982) is an Australian preacher and motivational speaker born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, but eventually came to terms with his disability and, at the age of seventeen, started his own non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs. Vujicic presents motivational speeches worldwide, on life with a disability, hope, and finding meaning in life. He also speaks about how God can use any willing heart to do His work and that God is big enough to overcome any and all disabilities.
The eldest child of a Serbian family, Vujicic was born in Brisbane, Australia. He was limbless, missing both arms at shoulder level, as well as legless. His feet were toeless except for two toes on one foot. Initially, his parents were devastated, though Vujicic was otherwise healthy.
Originally prohibited by Victoria state law from attending a mainstream school because of his physical disability, even though he was not mentally impaired, Vujicic became one of the first disabled students integrated into a mainstream school, once the laws changed.
Being bullied at school, Vujicic grew depressed and by the age of eight, contemplated suicide. At age ten he tried to drown himself, but did not go through with it out of love for his parents. After praying to grow arms and legs, Vujicic eventually realized that his accomplishments could inspire others – and became grateful for his life. A key turning point came when his mother showed him a newspaper article about a man dealing with a severe disability. Vujicic realized he wasn't unique in his struggles and began to embrace his disability.
He began to master the daily tasks of life. He learned to write using the two toes on his left foot with a special grip that slid onto his big toe. He learned to use a computer and type using the "heel and toe" method. He learned to throw tennis balls, play drum pedals, get himself a glass of water, comb his hair, brush his teeth, answer the phone and shave.
In grade seven he was elected captain of his school and worked with the student council on fund-raising events for local charities and disability campaigns. When he was seventeen, he started to give talks at his prayer group, and eventually started his non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs.
In 2005 Vujicic was nominated for the "Young Australian of the Year" Award. Many organizations help him and his organization raise money for him or support the organisation achieve goals for disabled people. For example, MYO... Vujicic currently lives in California.
On 12 February 2012, he married his fiancée Kanae Miyahara.
Vujicic speaking during the session "Inspired for a Lifetime" at the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on 30 January 2011
Vujicic graduated from Griffith University at the age of 21 with a double major in accountancy and financial planing. Subsequently he became a motivational speaker, travelling internationally and focusing on teen issues. Having addressed over three million people in over 24 countries on five continents, he speaks to corporate audiences, congregations and schools.
Vujicic promotes his work through television shows and through his writing. His first book, Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life (Random House, 2010) was published in 2010. He markets a motivational DVD, Life's Greater Purpose, a short documentary filmed in 2005 highlighting his home life and regular activities. The second part of the DVD was filmed at his local church in Brisbane – one of his first professional motivational speeches. He markets a DVD for young people titled: No Arms, No Legs, No Worries: Youth Version.
In March 2008, he was interviewed by Bob Cummings for 20/20.
He starred in the short film The Butterfly Circus which won the Doorpost Film Project's top prize of 2009, and the Best Short Film award at the Method Fest Film Festival, where Vujicic was also awarded Best Actor in a short film. Butterfly Circus also just won the Best Short Film at The Feel Good Film Festival in Hollywood in 2010.
He also released a new music video called Something More, which is available for viewing on YouTube.