At the age of two, Ali Stroker was in a car accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury that paralyzed her from the chest down, leaving her unable to walk and confining her to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
However, at the age of seven, Stroker saw her first Broadway show and it was at that moment that she says she decided to become an actress.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Ali’s desire to perform led her to the stage and, with the support of her family, peers, and teachers, she discovered her powerful singing voice and appeared in her high school productions.
She won a role in the hit TV show Glee and eventually made her way to Broadway, where she earned a prominent role in the revival of Oklahoma!.
This past Sunday night at the Tony Awards show, Stroker performed the song of her character (Ado Annie), I Cain’t Say No — and then she received the Tony for Featured Actress in a Musical.
If a fictional movie had been made on the premise of Ali Stroker’s life, no doubt it would be described as powerful and moving, but just a nice fantasy.
But Ali Stroker’s life is real, and her success sends a powerful message to all of us that we can achieve our dreams, regardless of the adversity we may face. Her success also has changed the perception of what is possible in the face of physical limitations.
So whenever we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, think of Ali Stroker. She has not attained her dream because of luck, but because she believed in herself — and that’s the most powerful belief any of us can have.