10 People Who Are Extra Special

It's time to shine a spotlight on these people who are amazing despite their unique circumstances. They're an inspiration to us all.

Let's get started!



1. Bendix Diner's Blind Waiter Inspires Customers

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Meet John Diakakis, the blind waiter at the famous, Bendix Diner, located in New Jersey. When customers are being served, they often aren't aware that John is even blind - that's how incredible his service is! This video gives you a taste of the fine service he has been serving up for years at his family restaurant.

To learn more about John and the Bendix Diner, click here.


2. Triple Amputee War Vet's Love For Music Saved His Life


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Meet Juan Dominquez, a veteran who lost both legs and his right arm from an IED explosion in Afghanistan where he served. This never stopped him from pursuing his love of music. If you like him on the trumpet, wait till you hear his drums and guitar in this video.

To see what else Juan has been up to recently, click here.


3. Armless Painter, Inspirational Speaker and Creative Writer!

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Rosie Jon is an award winning artist who paints with her feet. Not only is her work incredible, but her amazing poise and inspiring life will leave you in awe in this video, while motivating others to be extraordinary rather than ordinary.

To learn more about Rosie's artwork on her website click here.


4. Don't Limit This Actress, Model, Spokesperson and Entrepreneur!


Instagram


Megan Bomgaars starred in the A & E show, Born This Way, and began making a household name for herself as well raising awareness about the Down Syndrome Community. She now travels across the country giving keynote speeches on not being limited. Here in this video, she is at the 22nd Annual "Buddy Walk" run by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress. Currently, Meg runs a variety of businesses including a cosmetics company, Artpop, and a clothing line, Megology. There's no stopping her from achieving her dreams!

Check out Meg's clothing line that helps support research for Down Syndrome here.


5. Barely Breathing Ballerina Will Take Your Breath Away

Instagram: CatchingBreaths

Can a ballerina still perform when her body is stocked with robot parts? The answer is yes. Meet Bailey Anne Vincent, a ballerina with cystic fibrosis and ciliary dyskinesia. You can see in this video, she claims her portacath makes her dance better. She also runs her very own performing arts company, Company 360, that inspires others to dance.

To learn more about Bailey, follow her instagram here.


6. Autistic Fitness Center Helps Members Be Happy and Healthy!

ASD Fitness Center

Adam and Dedra Leapley created the ASD Fitness Center, a gym for individuals with Autism, to provide the specific activities and programs for their autistic son's needs. In this video, you can see they help children all over their area to work out, stay healthy, and have fun!

Learn about the incredible work done by ASD Fitness Center on their website here.


7. Cerebral Palsy Will Not Stop Mother-Daughter Racing Team

teamarianna.weebly.com

There is no better Mother-Daughter duo than Arianna Tanghe, a 14-year-old with Cerebral Palsy, and her mother. Together, the duo have completed 13 half marathons! Race days give Ari a special thrill as the pair reaches new milestones. Watch in this video as they race to the finish line at the Napa Silverado Half-Marathon.

Learn more about #TeamAri here!


8. Wheelchair Tennis Champion Rolling Into History


Twitter: David Wagner


David Wagner is a celebrated champion in the tennis world. Despite being paralyzed from the mid-chest down, he has continued to play tennis and in this video, watch as he becomes the #1 wheelchair tennis player in the world.

Learn more about our favorite tennis player here.


9. Amputee Cheerleader Takes Self-Acceptance To New Heights


Instagram


Cheerleading "lib-erates" Patience Beard, an amputee Division 1 athlete at University of Arkansas. She doesn't let her limitation keep her from flying. In this video, watch her embrace who she is and how her zebra leg is a part of her!

To learn more about Patience's journey, click here.


10. Mommy Starts Clothing Line to Honor Her Son With Down Syndrome

Littlewarrior.com

Eli Sullivan, a child with Down Syndrome, inspired his photographer mother, Michelle, to create a clothing line with uplifting messages that raise money for those with Down Syndrome. Watch Eli in this video, light up every room he walks into. Through Little Warrior, the message is always to spread joy, awareness, and inclusion.

Check our more of Eli and his mother's adventure's on the blog, The Little Warrior.


And on that note, happy friday everyone! Until next time!

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Man Goes on Cross-Country Hugging Tour To Spread Love

Hugging is considered to be a rather intimate form of affection across the US. Everyone hugs, but rarely do we ever hug strangers. Arie Moyal is willing to do just that. He is the founder and creator of the Hug Train, a national tour of free hugs to promote mental health awareness. Arie travels across the country giving hugs to strangers who are willing to give him an embrace.

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Dan's Coffee Runs Bring Warmth To Chemo Patients and Staff

Coffee and a smile are sometimes the best medicine. When Dan Dewey's father was being treated for cancer, Dan found himself following a routine in a situation which needed a little perking up.

Thus began what has become known as "Dan's Coffee Run". Every Thursday morning, Dan does a special coffee run for the staff and patients at the Michigan Cancer Institute in Bloomfield Hills, bringing Starbucks Coffee and a lot of smiles to the patients and providers at the cancer treatment center.

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This Organization Feeds Their Entire Community

If you are a kid and your bed is a lumpy, old couch or a cold, hard floor and you leave home for school without a regular breakfast, you will not excel in your classes. This daily struggle is shockingly common in many areas of the country and it sets many children on a downward spiral at an early age that is difficult to recover from. This is where Meals By Grace is making a difference.

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Anonymous Authors of Love Letters Uplift The Lonely

While it is exciting to see the bold type of a newly arrived email from an old friend or the pulsing dots of a long awaited text, there is still something special about the arrival of a hand written, stamped envelope in your home mailbox.

For those who are facing personal difficulties, adjusting to new circumstances, or just feeling isolated, the physical experience of handling a letter, opening the sealed side of the envelope, and sliding out a beautiful card brings the thrill and anticipation of contact with another person, something they may been missing for long time. Fulfilling this need is at the heart of an inspiring organization called "The World Needs More Love letters".

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A Father, A Son, And A Hockey Fan’s Dream Come True!

Coca-Cola, Shaw's Supermarkets, and the Boston Bruins have teamed up to make one lucky Bruins fan's dream come true. After purchasing a Coke from Shaw's in the New England area, contestants were encouraged to enter for a chance to win a "Player for a Day Experience" with the Boston Bruins.

The lucky winner's name is Mark Karolkiewicz. Mark has been a Bruins fan his whole life and even though he had the opportunity to be a Bruins Player for a Day, he selflessly gave the prize to his son Eric Karolkiewicz, also a die-hard Bruins fan!

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Dancing Away From Illness And Onto The Stage

The hall lights dim…..a hush comes over the audience … the command "places everyone" is given… there is a palpable stillness in the air as the first notes of the opening piece float out of the speakers and hover above the stage…. the curtain rises with a whir … the lights come up… its time …

These are the moments a performer lives for. The hours of solitary sweat and toil practicing their craft in sparse, small rooms, are the dues required for the joy of putting their skill and craft out there for an audience hungering for something special and moving.

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Singer, Poet, Activist, Lupus Survivor - Shanelle Gabriel

"Rock out...live your life....live your art!" This was Brooklyn, New York native Shanelle Gabriel's response to her diagnosis of Lupus, an autoimmune disease where your body's immune system, that usually fights infections, attacks healthy tissue instead.

Shanelle first noticed something was off when her fingers turned blue and hurt in the cold and she could not seem to shake the feeling of fatigue no matter how well she slept. After being diagnosed in 2004, Shanelle decided that her health would not be something that would limit her success.

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NFL Player Mentors Kid Dealing with Mom's Cancer

For families with a member who is battling cancer, life can seem lonely. The trials and tribulations of such a scary disease can be very intense—how could anyone who hasn't gone through them understand?

Walk With Sally is an organization founded to provide loving support to children whose parents or siblings are fighting cancer, and they helped make a very special match between two people who could understand one another's experience personally. Will Svitek, a former NFL professional, lost his father to cancer when he was just 31. He joined Walk With Sally for the express purpose of mentoring youngsters who were struggling in similar situations. That's how he met Rocco.

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