Born with a very rare condition that left him with deformed limbs, the doctors told his parents to just starve him to death. But the now 37-year-old managed to prove the medics wrong and chose to live.
Now that he’s become an accountant and a public speaker, Claudio Vieira de Oliveira is the living proof that no physical limitation can hinder you from being successful. He braved life even if he has to deal with a rare physical inconvenience.
Claudio’s mother, Maria Jose, shared that she heard a lot of discouragements from people when they first saw her son. She was told that he would not be able to survive or live a very difficult life. She revealed, “People started saying that the baby is going to die because he could barely breathe when he was born. Some people would say, ‘Don’t feed him, he is already dying.'”
Claudio’s rare condition, called congenital arthrogryposis, has been recently diagnosed by doctors. They believe that his arms and legs cannot extend properly because he has multiple joint contractions in them.
While most handicapped have the option to use wheelchairs so they can at least move around, Claudio cannot use one because of his unusual shape. Which is why his family cannot let him go outside, alone and unattended.
But despite all this, Claudio wanted his life to be as normal as it possibly could, so he asked his mom to let him attend school and take classes with other children. This is how he started to take a new path in life.
At eight, Claudio, who had previously been carried everywhere, began to walk on his knees. He also has a pair of shoes made specially for him so he can shuffle around town. Over time, he learned to type with a pen in his mouth and operate phones and a computer mouse with his lips. The plugs and light and even Claudio’s bed are lowered so that he could do things for himself without anyone’s help. His family also changed the floor of the house so he could walk around comfortably and safely.
Because of Claudio’s determination to do things on his own for his own sake, he succeeded at school and even qualified as an accountant. He graduated from the State University of Feira de Santana.
Maria Jose said of his son, ” . . . there’s only happiness now. Claudio is just like any other person—that’s how he was raised in this house. We never tried to fix him and always wanted him to do the normal things everyone else does. That’s why he is so confident. He is not ashamed of walking around in the street. He sings and he dances,” she said.
“Since I was a child, I’ve always liked to keep myself busy and work. I don’t like to depend totally on other people. I do a bit of accounting, research for clients, and consulting. I have learned to turn on the TV, pick up my cell phone, turn on the radio, use the Internet, my computer—I do it all by myself,” Claudio said.
He added, “Throughout my life, I was able to adapt my body to the world. Right now, I don’t see myself as being different. I am a normal person. I don’t see things upside-down. This is one of the things I always talk about in my interventions as a public speaker. Nowadays it’s much easier to deal with the public. I’m not afraid of it anymore, and I can say that I am a professional international public speaker and that I receive invitations from all over the world.”
Claudio lives to prove that nothing can stop a person from living his life the way he should. Neither poverty nor illness can hinder anyone from being happy. Having the right kind of mind-set is the real secret to having a blissful and content life.