For Claudio Viera de Oliveira, the world is upside-down. No, this is not figuratively, and neither is this part of a Lewis Carroll ‘Alice in Wonderland’ series. Oliveira actually looks at the world upside-down. But at the same time, it can also be said the inspirational 40-year-old is seeing the world right-side up.
Oliveira was born with arthrogryposis, a rare medical condition that fuses his joints together, leaving his head upside down and facing the wrong way, as well as severely deforming his limbs. According to a report, the doctors had told his mother that she should allow him to die — even starve him to death. But his mother, Maria Jose Vieira Martins, perservered and cared for her son.
Over the years, Oliveira battled through each day with tiny victories. The most significant of which was learning to use a pen with his mouth to type words, or even his lips to use a mouse or a phone. Where others would have given up, the Brazilian went on to qualify as an accountant, and inspire countless others with his public speeches.
Now, Oliveira has published his first book, ‘El mundo esta a contramano’ (The World is the Wrong Way Around). It was recently launched at the Art Museum in Sao Paulo. See his Facebook announcement here.
As a tribute to Oliveira’s ‘never say die’ spirit, Facebook user De Lellis Welldone wrote the following evocative post.
The words to take away from this post are: “To those who think Claudio is pitiful, I can assure – Claudio is this angel. When I’m struggling to overcome a situation that does not allow me smile, I turn to his ‘charisma and his presence of mind’ – and that’s enough me to realise that my pain is never the most.”
In an interview with Mail Online, Martins said, “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.”
At age 8, Oliveira began walking on his knees. His family renovated their house to make it more accessible to him. Now, it seems, he is making the world accessible to many.
Oliveira has said, “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.”