A polio survivor makes the most of his life by helping others that live with disabilities

and working as an advocate for systemic change.

Linn Hendershot was a Polio survivor and throughout his childhood and most of his adult life, he had to get around on crutches. At that time, in the 1950s and 60s, disabled people were considered “crippled” and sort of doomed to a life of inertia but Linn used his talents of perseverance and persuasion to change perceptions.

There were no mandated accommodations for the disabled at that time, yet he found a way, with the help of family and friends, to attend college, graduate and build a successful career in PR and marketing working for the NFL and NASCAR racing. He later served a lead role on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Committee on Disability Access to ensure the venues were accessible. He was also a city councilman.

Later in life, when relegated to a wheelchair and permanently using a ventilator to breathe, he started to give up and thought he was going to die. He was really struggling until another patient asked if he would teach him how to use the computer. He found the motivation to want to live when he heard the three most important words according to Linn, “I need you”.

He created a computer lab and spearheaded the creation of a therapeutic outdoor garden at the hospital. He encouraged other patients to not give up and to find something positive in their particular circumstance. He taught them how to use computers and he located assistive devices for them to use. Linn Hendershot did all he could to help his fellow patients connect with the outside world and have a bit more happiness and meaning in their lives.  Learn more…

It was never we can’t do it… It was how can we make it happen.
— Noah Linn Hendershot