Success Stories Within the IDD Community: Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli has been one of the most influential musicians of all time even though he has been blind for the majority of his life. 

Early Life

Andrea Borcelli, tenor what a wonderful voice. He was blinded by playing  soccer at an early age I think 12 years old. A very tale… | Andrea, Singer,  Opera singers

Andrea Bocelli was born on September 22nd, 1956, where his hardships had begun. Before his conception, the doctor advised his parents to abort him, as they figured he would be born with a disability with the doctor’s prediction that he would have numerous problems with his sight. Eventually, after he was born, he was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, which is caused due to abnormalities in the anterior chamber angle development that obstruct aqueous outflow in the absence of systemic anomalies. This abnormality is rare depending on the country of birth, with in the United States, it occurs once in 10,000 births. As he lacked the ability to see, he grew a great passion for music as a young boy. At the age of 6, he started taking piano lessons and later learned various other instruments. Eventually, at the age of 12, he got into a soccer accident which caused him to lose complete sight. However, this did not stop him from pursuing his passion for music. At the age of 14, he began to participate in song competitions; he broke into the music world from that point forward.

Andrea Bocelli


Since 1982, he has recorded almost 15 solo studio albums, three greatest hit albums, nine operas, and sold over 75 million records worldwide. Since he broke into the music world, his first compilation album Romanza is that of one of the best-selling albums of all time. Then in 1998, he was named as People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people. With many more record-breaking solos and albums, in 2019 his album Si debuted at number one on UK Album Charts and US Billboard 200. Asides from his vastly achieving records, he received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2010 for his contributions to live theatre.

List of awards and nominations received by Andrea Bocelli - Wikipedia


Not only is his accomplishments for an ordinary singer extremely rare but to complete what he has while being blind is something extraordinary. He is a figure within the IDD Community not only for his success but to show the fact that anything is possible no matter your disadvantage or disability.

How What You Eat Affects Your Mental Health

Everything you do is fueled by food. Breathing, sleeping, thinking, walking, and working are all things your body can’t do without proper food. So it’s no surprise that food would also play a role in your mental health.  What you eat greatly affects your mood and mental health.

Your brain functions best with the best food. Eating the best food that is high in nutrients and vitamins will allow your brain to stay healthy. Eating low quality foods can actually damage the brain. It has been found that diets high in sugar are especially damaging to the brain. This can worsen or create symptoms of depression.

How foods affect how you feel:

Serotonin is a chemical that regulates mood. Serotonin is developed in the gastrointestinal tract so it makes sense that what you eat would have a great effect on your mood. What’s more is that your body creates “good bacteria” when given the right foods which have a direct effect on the serotonin neurons. These bacteria play an essential role in the digestive system by preventing inflammation and fighting bad bacteria. It’s important to eat well to promote the growth of this “good bacteria”. It has been shown that following a traditional diet of lean proteins, greens, and carbs lowers your risk of depression greatly. The typical western diet does not promote clean eating and instead emphasizes eating processed foods.

What does this mean for you?:

To start transforming your eating habits start paying attention to how you feel after eating the foods you do. Do you immediately feel bloated and uncomfortable? If so these foods are clearly not good for your digestive tract and are doing damage to your “good bacteria”. If you feel full but nourished and healthy the foods you eat are doing good things in your body. If you constantly feel bad try eating clean for 1-3 weeks and see how it changes your mood and overall feeling of health. Many report feeling much better after a few weeks of eating clean. If you wish to eat clean there are plenty of options and recipes out there.

Pickles: The Dog Detective who Saved the 1966 World Cup

Back in March 1966, the Jules Rimet trophy was on display a few months before the World Cup was set to take place in London. One night while the trophy was resting in it’s display case for the night, the security guards on duty decided to take a short break. This soon turned out to be a mistake as when the guards returned they were shocked to find an empty case with no sign of the trophy. 

The event instantly made global headlines and the entirety of England was up in arms over the disappearance of the trophy that was entrusted to them. However, shortly after a ransom note was received from the alleged thief who called themselves “Jackson”. The note contained a small piece of the trophy and read that he was the one who had stolen the treasure. The thief had requested 15,000 pounds for its safe return so the authorities decided to go along with the request to stage an arrest for whoever showed up to accept the money. 

An undercover policeman met Jackson soon after with a briefcase stuffed to the brim with newspapers and a thin layer of 5-pound notes on the top. After the exchange of money, the man named Jackson was arrested and interrogated by police where they then came to find out that the man’s actual name was Edward Betchley. Even though an arrest was made Betchley claimed to only be a middleman for the operation so police were no closer to finding the missing trophy. 

Later on in the week on Sunday March 27th an amazing discovery by a young Border Collie named Pickles took place. While out on an evening walk Pickles found a package on the side of the street, so his owner Dave Corbett came over and found an object wrapped in newspaper and string. After tearing off some of the newspaper and some further inspection Corbett soon came to realize that the package was the famous Jules Rimet trophy!

Immediately after the find, Pickles and Corbett went to the local police station to present the trophy to the authorities. At first, Corbett was a prime suspect to the police. However, after hours of interrogation he was eventually released and given a cash reward for finding the trophy.

From that point on Corbett and especially Pickles became instant celebrities. Pickles was awarded a medal by the National Canine Defence League and received several other rewards. He even starred in a movie called ‘The Spy With a Cold Nose’.

From that year on, Pickles has been ingrained in the history books for his great detective work. You can find more information on Pickle’s story in the links below. 




Success Stories Within the IDD Community: Aaron Fotheringham

Aaron Fotheringham: Longest wheelchair ramp jump | Guinness World Records


If you have ever seen Johnny Knoxville, you may have heard of Aaron Fotheringham. Fotheringham is a regular in many of Johnny Knoxville’s stunts. Aaron Fotheringham is most well known for his appearance in Nitro Circus, his claim to fame being his ability not just to skate but wheelchair skate.

Aaron Fotheringham — IE Disabilities EXPO

Early Life

Aaron was born in 1991 with Spina Bifida, a congenital disability on the spinal cord. This condition caused him to have no control over his legs, but this did not stop Aaron from achieving and succeeding. Even at a young age, he did everything in his power to do what every other kid was doing; he just made it work for his abilities. Aaron was known to wear a superman cape as a child and blast down the hallway on crutches, and most important, never stopped believing. After his crutches, he was placed in a wheelchair full-time from the age of 8. At a young age, he would watch his brother ride BMX at a local skatepark and wanted to give it a try with his wheelchair. Ever since that first drop-in at a skate park, Aaron was hooked to the mastery of Wheelchair Skating.

Historic First: Aaron Fotheringham Accomplishes Wheelchair Back Flip

Professional Career

His professional career in wheelchair skating began when he customized a wheelchair to allow him to do tricks. As wheelchair skating was not a big sport when Aaron started, he would make up and perform stunts on the fly. One of his most well-known tricks would be the famous back-flip that he portrays, featured throughout both the show and various movies of Nitro Circus.

4 badass wheelchair sports! - Briometrix


Not only is Aaron a superstar on the half-pipe, but he has been a role model for young kids with disabilities. He swears by the philosophy that a wheelchair is not a restriction but rather a tool. He travels all over talking to young kids and teaching them a trick or two along the way. He wants to change the world’s perception of people on wheelchairs and help every individual see their own worst challenges in a new way.

Aaron Fotheringham: Superman on Wheelz - Wheel:LifeWheel:Life

Benefits of Meditation

More now than ever the world is a stressful place to live. Up and downs are normal due to stress, anxiety, and depression. Finding ways to combat these feelings is very important. Meditation is a great tool for reducing stress and improving your sense of well being.

Practicing meditation on a regular basis has been shown to have positive effects on your mental health. It’s important to practice regularly to receive the greatest benefits.

How to meditate:

Meditation can be difficult but with practice and persistence it becomes easier. To meditate start by finding a place where you will not be disturbed. Pick a predetermined amount of time 5-10 minutes is a good start. Get into a comfortable seated or lying down position. Begin by focusing on your breath. Focus on the sensation of air flowing through your nostrils and leaving out of your mouth. Counting during your breaths can help to keep you even more focused. If your mind begins to wander bring your focus back to your breath. Try to avoid thought and keep your mind quiet. This will become easier over time. As you practice more you can begin to meditate for longer.

Many people love to start their day with meditation. It’s a great way to clear the mind and have a positive outlook for the day. It doesn’t matter when you meditate. If you are not a morning person any time of the day works.

Benefits of meditation:

Some of the benefits of mediation include Stress reduction, Increased ability to concentrate, Increased self-esteem, Greater self-acceptance, Increased happiness and peace of mind, Reduced levels of depression and anxiety, Lower blood pressure, Increased self-awareness, Stronger immune system, Improved cardiovascular health, and Better sleep.

Meditation is a great tool to deal with the fast paced stress inducing world we live in. If you keep your mind open and accept it into your life as a daily practice you can watch your outlook become more and more positive.