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Resourceful Claudio Vieira de Oliveira knows more than a thing or two about overcoming adversity. Medics told the now-37-year-old’s mother to let him starve to death after he was born with a rare condition of the joints that left him with severely deformed limbs … and an upside-down head. But despite his physical limitations, Claudio, from Monte Santo, Brazil, has defied doctors’ doubts to become an accountant and inspirational public speaker.

When Claudio was born, doctors told his mother Maria Jose he would not be able to survive. Maria Jose said: ‘People started saying ‘the baby is going to die’ because he could barely breath when he was born. ‘Some people would say: ‘Don’t feed him, he is already dying’.

Doctors have recently diagnosed him with a rare condition called congenital arthrogryposis. They believe he has multiple joint contractions in his legs and arms which mean they cannot extend properly. Claudio said: ‘Throughout my life I was able to adapt my body to the world. Right now, I don’t see myself as being different. I am a normal person. ‘I don’t see things upside-down. This is one of the things I always talk about in my interventions as a public speaker. ‘Nowadays it’s much easier to deal with the public, I’m not afraid of it anymore and I can say that I am a professional, international public speaker and that I receive invitations from all over the world.’ He is not the only person with the disease who has refuse to let it overcome his life.

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