Disability rights activist and one of Ireland’s most outstanding speakers, Joanne O'Riordan, has been shortlisted as one of the top twenty young people in the world by Junior Chamber International (JCI).
Joanne who received the JCI Ireland Top Outstanding Young People (TOYP) award, which was sponsored by BNI Ireland earlier this summer, will join a list of famous dignitaries to achieve the award if she reaches the final ten. This is in part down to a public vote.
Cork girl Joanne, who is just one of seven people in the world living with Total-amelia, was catapulted in to the spotlight in 2011 when she publicly challenged the government on cuts to people with disabilities.
Since then she has addressed the UN on the importance of technology in her life and is currently in the process of working with Trinity College Dublin to create a robot to help her with everyday tasks.
Her life story to date was captured in the 2014 documentary "No Limbs, No Limits" and she was also appointed to offer guidance and solutions to the government on young people with disabilities.
The JCI TOYP programme honours ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year. These individuals exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and provide extraordinary service to their communities on a global and local level.
Previous winners of the International award include John F Kennedy, Jackie Chan, and Henry Kissinger.
Speaking of the shortlist announcement, Deborah McAndrew, JCI Ireland Director of Community said. “We are thrilled that Joanne has been selected as one of the world's top outstanding young people and will now hopefully represent JCI Ireland in receiving the award in Japan in November.
"To ensure Joanne can now go all the way, we ask everyone to please vote for her online and ask your friends and family to do likewise before Wednesday the 19th of August."
To vote for Joanne, log on to www.jci.cc/toypvote and click on her name to view her page and press "Like" below her biography. Voting closes on Wednesday, August 19th.
If successful, Joanne will travel to Kanazawa, Japan to be honoured at the 2015 JCI World Congress on Friday, November 7th.