For inspiration, one needs to look no farther than the

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For inspiration, one needs to look no farther than the story of a deaf and blind women, who despite the loss of her sight and hearing as a toddler, learned to read, write and even speak. She devoted her life to helping others much like herself and was determined to overcome any obstacles that came her way. Brought out of the darkness by a woman named Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller inspired the world for almost 100 years with her courage, devotion, and demonstration of the power of the human spirit.

Keller was born on June 27, 1880, and was diagnosed with a serious illness 19 months later, which resulted in her loss of sight and hearing. After many weeks of searching, the Kellers were fortunate to find Anne Sullivan who was trained to teach blind and deaf children. Helen was an unusually bright child, and she learned very quickly that words had meanings.

Within a matter of months, Sullivan taught Keller to read Braille and even write. She also learned to swim, to ride a bicycle and a horse. In 1894, Keller began to study at Wright Humason School in New York City. After much progress, Keller was admitted into Radcliffe College six years later. She was ranked at the top of her class, and published her first book, The Story of My Life in 1903. From 1908 to 1913, Keller published two more books and began to lecture with Sullivan all over the world. They delighted audiences by telling stories of Sullivan's teaching methods, demonstrating how Helen could read lips by touching them, and finally having Keller speak directly to the audience. In 1924, Keller reached her main goal when she began working for the American Foundation for the Blind. Throughout the rest of her life, she published three more books and traveled to many places. She received many awards such as the nations highest civilization award and Humanitarian of the Year.

With a rare combination of courage, intelligence, and sensitivity, Keller faced the terrors of the unknown and unknowable world and mastered them. She was very rarely defeated at a challenge that came her way. Mark Twain once said, "The two most interesting characters of the 19th century, are Napoleon and Helen Keller.