Cork disability activist Joanne O’Riordan has won the Junior Chamber International Outstanding Young Person of the World Award for 2015.
Joanne was placed on the shortlist for the award after a public vote, she received almost half of the 26,000 online votes for the award which honours those under 40 who have “contributed greatly to local and global communities”.
She was selected as the winner by a panel of judges for her contribution to children, world peace and human rights.
The student from UCC is one of only seven people in the world living with Total Amelia a rare medical disability, meaning born without limbs.
In 2011 Ms O’Riordan came to the public’s attention when she criticised the Government’s stance on cuts to disability allowances.
Since then she addressed the UN at the International Telecommunication Union’s conference ‘Girls in Technology’ in New York in 2012. Her story was brought to the big screen when she was the subject of a 2014 documentary ‘No Limbs No Limits’.
Ms O’Riordan commented “to say I’m over the moon would be an understatement. For me this award is about highlighting the ability of every citizen irrespective of their disability. I want people to realise that people with disabilities can contribute to a wider society in a more positive and helpful way”.
You can follow Joanne on twitter @NolimbsNolimit