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Joanne O'Riordan wins 'outstanding young person of the world' award

She will receive the accolade at a ceremony in Japan.
Aug 27th 2015, 4:36 PM 22,524 29

JOANNE O’RIORDAN HAS won a prestigious international youth award.

The disability rights campaigner has been awarded one of Junior Chamber International’s (JCI) ten Outstanding Young Person of the World Awards.

O’Riordan has a very rare medical condition called Total Amelia, meaning she was born with no limbs. Her brother Stephen directed a documentary about her inspirational life, ‘No Limbs No Limits’, last year.

On her 16th birthday, she delivered a landmark speech at the UN about how technology has transformed her life. She is currently collaborating with Trinity College Dublin to design Robbie the Robot, a product to allow people with disabilities to also live a comfortable and independent life.

O’Rioradan said she is “simply blown away” by the news.

“To say I’m over the moon would be an understatement. I was joking with my bother Steven last night that if I’m ever being interviewed on The Late Late Show again I’ll have to ask Ryan Tubridy to address me as Outstanding Young Person of the World.”

The Cork native won almost half of the 26,000 online votes, which helped her secure the honour – along with a judging panel. O’Riordan has won numerous awards including The Rehab Young Person of Year Award in 2012.

Upon learning the news, her mother Ann said: “She is the only Cork person to win the award and while she loves flying the flag for Cork I know she will beam with pride flying the green, white and gold in Japan. What can I say? I’m a proud mum.”

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O’Riordan thanked everyone who voted for her.

I want to thank all those who believe in people with disabilities and provide them with opportunities in life to do better and I’m delighted to represent Ireland. We are a small but great nation. I always say its not people with disabilities that are the problem. It’s people attitude and understanding towards disability is the real problem. Let’s hope this award changes that perception.

Previous winners of the award include John F Kennedy, Jackie Chan and Henry Kissinger.

O’Riordan will receive the accolade at a ceremony in Japan on 7 November.

Read: Joanne O’Riordan shortlisted for outstanding young person of the world award

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Órla Ryan

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