Composer detected issues in your platform: Your Composer dependencies require a PHP version ">= 8.1.0". Pure Grit

Creating greater understanding of complex medical conditions

Stories of remarkable people living with physical disability


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Pure Grit

Lily Collison and Kara Buckley

Nineteen people from across the globe, ranging in age from twenty to seventy-plus, tell their stories of living and thriving in diverse fields – in sport, the arts, medicine, business and more. With refreshing frankness, they share their successes along with their struggles – grit is the one characteristic they all have in common. These are not stories of people overcoming disability – they’re stories of people accommodating disability while pursuing their dreams. Pure Grit shines a light on boundless possibility whatever the individual challenge.

Lily Collison is parent of three adult sons, the youngest of whom has spastic diplegia (a form of cerebral palsy). She previously worked in education and industry and is author of Spastic Diplegia (2020) and Pure Grit (2021), published by Gillette Children’s Healthcare Press. She lives in Ireland with her husband. 

Kara Buckley is Senior Advisor to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. She previously held the position of Global Director at Visa, leading partnerships with Olympians and Paralympians. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children.

What people are saying

"Pure Grit introduces us to individuals who have helped to redefine what is possible. Their stories are educational, inspirational, and aspirational. This book reminds us that what makes us different is a strength — not a liability. I highly recommend it."

Co-founder and CEO of Biomotum, Inc.

"Pure Grit is an authentic and raw look into the life of disability. Collison and Buckley shine a light on the array of misconceptions that people  with physical disabilities are forced to endure, while also showcasing a  world of unlimited possibility by normalizing disability in a way that is  rarely done. The book is a must-read."

Chief of Paralympic Sport, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee

"Pure Grit is about being determined, but also about being believed in, taking opportunities, having and using support networks, and most importantly, driving social change. Being visible and successful opens a world of possibilities for those who are, and for those who are not, disabled."

Apex Australia Chair of Neurodevelopment and Disability, University of Melbourne, Co-editor of Particip­ation: Optimising Outcomes in Childhood-Onset Neurodisability

"Pure Grit will encourage our son to own his disability and be all that he is meant to be. A book that also encourages us, as parents, to be bold and brave in how we raise our children. I loved it and can see an immediate difference in how I see and respond to life’s challenges."

Teacher and mother to a child who has cerebral palsy, UK

"The stories in Pure Grit are a testament to human achievement no matter your ability. Sports have always been a reflection of our world, and it speaks volumes that so many of these incredible stories are from Paralympians and athletes around the world. An extraordinary read."

Chairperson, Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games

"Wonderful accounts of individual journeys, sharing unique challenges of physical disability, fuelled by remarkable determination. The horizon of unlimited possibilities for achievement is communicated modestly. One can only be motivated by the unlocking of potential that is highlighted. A compelling read with universal appeal."

Medical Director, CRC, Dublin

"Pure Grit highlights the lived experience of remarkable individuals, who collectively demonstrate that growing up with a disability brings strength, perspective, and resilience. Importantly, it tells these stories through the lens of the empowerment model rather than the deficit model, demonstrating that disability is a natural, and beautiful, element of diversity and the human experience."

Assistant professor of PM&R, Harvard Medical School; Board of Directors, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and Boston Athletic Association; retired Paralympic wheelchair racer.

"This remarkable book changes my understanding of the world around me. The personal stories are told with an honesty that gets to the nub of our shared humanity."

Irish journalist who lives with cancer

"The authors have a unique ability to meet the storytellers where they are at. Every story is told with an authenticity that gives the reader an  opportunity to change the many assumptions they might hold about disability without pushing or instructing them to do so. Each of the  nineteen stories is superb in its own right, and as a collection this book is a joy to read."

Executive Director, Cerebral Palsy Foundation, New York

"Pure Grit is a compelling book that takes the reader into the hearts and  minds of some extraordinary individuals. The biographies are deeply immersive, often very personal and engaging, yet move the reader to reflect on how lives — who we are and where we are — are so profoundly  contingent on our relationship with each other and the culture we inhabit."

Lecturer in sports management, Lough­borough University, UK

"Inspiring! And beautifully told. Every chapter filled with a heart-warming, life-affirming story."

Former Chief Marketing Officer of NBC Sports Group

"Many clinicians have recognized the value of learning from the experience of disabled youth and adults. Pure Grit provides that information. Interviewees recognize that parental, family and community attitudes and the physical environment generate barriers or opportunities to fulfilment in careers and personal life. I highly recommend Pure Grit to audiences who are rooting for diversity in all its richness as well as those focused on health and disability studies."

Professor emerita, University of Pittsburgh; former director for U.S. National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research; and member of the international panel for the WHO World Report on Disability. She has a hearing impairment.

"Pure Grit is a necessary read for anyone looking to further disability representation in various storytelling mediums. Not only does it provide helpful insight on how to do so, but more importantly it centers disability within a conversation about the universal truths of how to live a purposeful and fulfilling life. Ultimately, if there is one takeaway from this book, it is: follow your passion."

Director of Development, Original Series and Movies at Cartoon Network Studios, Los Angeles

"This book thoughtfully captures the breadth and diversity of disability in a way that reminds us that disability is an important part of the human experience. Loved the book."

Marketing professional who lives in the U.S., and who has cerebral palsy

"This remarkable book prompts us to have courage in the pursuit of our own dreams, and also, to have courage to support others to achieve their life aspirations too -- even when challenges are significant. Written in an engaging and accessible format, this book will resonate with and inspire readers, from all walks of life, around the world."

Lecturer in psychology, and researcher in heroism, leadership, brain injury, University of Limerick, Ireland

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