Linda Noble Topf is an author, motivational speaker, designer and author who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1981. She believes anyone can succeed, even with physical challenges. The author of “Wheelchair Wisdom: Awaken Your Spirit through Adversity” (iUniverse), will present a special program at the National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, on Friday, Jan. 8 from 11 a.m. to noon. Topf will encourage students to look inside themselves to discover their own personal strength and identify with those qualities they see in others in the exhibit to empower themselves for this new year.
During the program, Topf will present to students with special needs from The Pathway School in Norristown and to students who are able-bodied from the Nebinger School in Philadelphia. She will help them all find the hero in their mirror and will actually provide hand-held mirrors for each student to do just that – look at themselves as heroes. Joining Topf will be Rocco Fiorentino, 19, who was born four months premature with less than a 5 percent chance to live. Because he needed 100 percent oxygen in his incubator to survive, he lost his sight, but he never lost his vision. Fiorentino, now a sophomore at Berklee College of Music, will perform for the students as he is a pianist and singer and he will share his personal story with the group. In addition, Aristotle Vargas, 17, will read a poem he wrote called A Look in the Mirror.
Topf is a woman who understands reaching for one’s dreams and goals, no matter what. In fact, she was instrumental in the National Liberty Museum creating an exhibit called “Inspiration”, a photographic exhibition that honors Americans who have faced physical, cognitive or psychological challenges with courage, determination and hope.
An advocate for disability rights, Topf is an ordained minister, wellness and life coach and counselor, professional speaker, blogger for the Huffington Post and author. As a follow-up to her first book, “You Are Not Your Illness: Seven Principles for Meeting the Challenge,” in “Wheelchair Wisdom”, she supplements her advice on living with a disease – but not losing personal identity in the face of that disease. She shatters widespread notions of what it’s like to spend life in a wheelchair by offering a practical spiritual guide to living life as one’s true self and exploring what is possible, regardless of any challenges.