Accidents, illnesses and unfortunate events can happen to anyone - whether young or old, famous or ordinary. Here are four inspirational people from all walks of life who have overcome adversity and gone on to achieve great things. 

* Silken Lauman - Shortly before the 1992 Olympic Games, Canadian rower Silken Lauman crashed her boat, shattering her right leg. In just 27 days, Silken endured a grueling series of surgeries and rehab, and got back in her racing shell. Just ten weeks after her accident, she won a bronze medal. After retiring from rowing in 1999 with three Olympic medals, Silken became a motivational speaker and life coach. 

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* Stephanie Buxhoeveden was a nurse and a high-achieving graduate student studying Nurse Anesthesia when a strange numbness started in her limbs. Her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis cut short her career plans but gave her a new direction in life. She became a nurse practitioner specializing in MS, blogs about MS at and is a writer and advocate for MS patients. Stephanie explained her story in a TEDx talk in 2015.  

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* Oprah Winfrey - As child, Oprah experienced poverty as well as physical and sexual abuse. She overcame these obstacles to become one of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry. In 2012, Oprah spoke with David Letterman about how her experiences shaped who she is today. 

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* Rick Hansen - Rick was just a small-town kid when in 1973, at age 15, he was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. His coaches encouraged him to take up wheelchair sports. Within a few years, Rick became a world-champion wheelchair athlete and won six Paralympic medals. In 1985, he travelled around the world in his wheelchair as the "Man in Motion", raising money and awareness of the potential of people with disabilities and the importance of accessibility. 

His Rick Hansen Foundation continues to support medical research and champion accessibility in the built environment. 

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Job hunters are often asked in interviews how they would overcome adversity. We'll look at how to answer these types of questions next time.