Chicken Soup For The Sole: Andrea Boccelli

Imagine being born with a condition that compromises your sight from birth, adapting to the challenge of limited eyesight from day 1, then losing your sight completely at 12 due to a freak accident. Many people would feel intimidated by their new challenges, but the Italian musician Andrea Boccelli didn’t: instead of allowing his blindness to limit his ability to achieve great things, he went on to excel, selling over 75 million records worldwide!

Childhood Struggles and a Major Setback

Andrea Boccelli was born in 1958 in Tuscany, Italy. Despite his mother’s doctor urging her to abort him due to his apparent disability, she decided to give birth to him against her doctor’s advice. Despite his congenital glaucoma, which severely limited his eyesight, Andrea took piano lessons from the age of 6 and excelled, learning how to play numerous instruments as a child. Despite his compromised eyesight, Andrea played sports as well– until an accident during a soccer game that resulted in a brain hemorrhage that robbed him of his remaining eyesight. However, Boccelli didn’t let this stop him: not only did he continue his musical studies, he earned a law degree as well.

Thriving Without Sight

Debuting in 1992 after responding to an audition for tenor singers, Boccelli readily became renowned for his singing voice. He eventually went on to sell 75 million records and receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has been praised by fans and celebrities alike, becoming famous more for his gigantic talent than his inspiring story. Despite all the accolades, the most poignant endorsement of his ability may have come from Celine Dion, who said: “If God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Boccelli.”

Andrea Boccelli is a fantastic example of why a disability has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s value or ability. If Boccelli’s mother had listened to her doctor, the world would have been robbed of one of the greatest musical talents alive, for no reason other than his eyesight.

My name is Jessica Cox, and being born without arms has taught me many things, like how to appreciate and nurture people who have tough situations to overcome. If you’d like me to share my story and inspire the attendees at your business or religious gathering, please contact me here.