Next in our series of heroes is Stephen Hawking, best known for his groundbreaking work in theoretical physics, but he also stood as a powerful advocate for those living with ALS.
In 1962, while beginning his PhD at the University of Cambridge in England, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and given two years to live. Hawking lived until 2018 and passed away at 76 years old.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS, is a degenerative nerve disease that weakens the ability to voluntarily move one’s muscles. The rare disease gained mainstream awareness in 2014 with the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised $115 million total for research towards a cure for ALS
While Stephen Hawking was battling ALS, he focused his energies on studying astronomy and metaphysics. His best-selling book A Brief History of Time has been translated into 35 languages and has sold over 10 million copies, despite his theories being widely debated and his eventual concession in 2004.
He will be remembered for his contributions to science and to the disability community for raising awareness.
Association, ALS. “What Is ALS?” The ALS Association, www.als.org/understanding-als/what-is-als.
Clark, Stuart. “A Brief History of Stephen Hawking: A Legacy of Paradox.” New Scientist, 14 Mar. 2018, www.newscientist.com/article/2053929-a-brief-history-of-stephen-hawking-a-legacy-of-paradox/.