If you don’t know by now the incredible story of Leanne Beetham, then pause for a moment and read carefully, as her story proves once again, if it was necessary, that human potential goes beyond physical disability and where nature’s cruelty strikes, the human spirit rises, giving its possessor chances and opportunities never imagined before. Leanne Beethan is yet another example of a person fighting against its own boundaries and winning at a game many non-disabled people tend to ignore and overestimate: achieving the impossible, overcoming limitations, breaking through barriers others don’t have to live with.
But let’s start the incredible story of Leanne Beetham the proper way: with the beginning. Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita is a congenital condition that affects almost all joints in a person’s body, making them eventually incapable to move. Although quite rare, it is a major disabling condition and Leanne was unfortunate enough to be born with it. She has the spine curved and she cannot move either her arms or her legs. Her mother, apparently unable to take care of a severely disabled child, left her in the care Leanne’s grandparents who didn’t have much hope either, as the doctors’ prognostics weren’t so bright.
But the British young girl did not only survived, she became a great contemporary artist, as well. By the age of two years old, she started drawing and painting by holding a pencil in her mouth.
Years have passed and now Leanne Beethan is a true painter and a talented one by all possible standards. According to an interview she gave to Daily Mail not so long ago,
her talent was recognized at 13 when she designed a Christmas card for her school which was featured in the local newspaper and seen by a member of MFPA
MFPA, which stands for Mouth and Foot Painting Artists welcomed Leanne and thus, her career as a painter began. She started painting and drawing nature and animal inspired artworks for charity purposes. She became widely popular in the last years, not only because she turned her talent into a personal success, but because she turned her personal success into a life’s goal to educate the public and to advocate for the abilities and talents of disabled people.
Leanne’s terrible fate was completely changed when she was discovered as a young artistic talent and she received a scholarship and an award for Triumph Over Adversity from the British National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
But the incredible story of Leanne Beetham doesn’t stop here: her lucky star shone bright above her and turned her into a national celebrity, since famous crime writer Frederick Forsyth became one of her fans, together with a wildlife artist known in artistic circles by the name of Shepherd.
Leanne’s own love for animals carried her steps towards the Bishop Burton Higher Education College where she attends applied animal behavior and training classes, but her dedication to art is more powerful.
Can she make a living out of her mouth charcoal drawings and watercolor paintings? She believes so and from the looks of it, she started really well: one of her works made it to Christie’s Auction House in London, marking thus a major landmark in her artistic career. Not only that she was the youngest artist to take part at the auction (organized for charity and fundraising purposes in the benefit of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation for endangered wild animals), but her artwork was registered at a reserve price of £800 (apprx. $1,304).
What is absolutely great about the incredible story of Leanne Beetham is that despite her incapacity to move, she has a larger than life attitude and the ambition to prove anybody wrong if they dare say to her that she can’t do certain things.