The Founding Story
The Founding Story
DIA founder Harry Williams was born on January 24, 1995 - five weeks earlier than expected - with a club hand, also known as Vacterl Syndrome. This means Harry was missing the left wrist bone in his right hand, causing his hand to turn inwards. Along with the missing wrist bone, Harry also had the thumb on his right hand amputated at a very young age due to lack of bones, something that is common with this type of condition. He was also born with a rare neck condition called Klippel-Feil Syndrome, where six of his eight neck discs are fused together; leaving only two to work sufficiently.
Despite the neck significant issues, it's not the neck that's proposed the most work; its the former. It has been a constant challenge and repeated obstacle for Harry do many things in life; carry multiple items, tie shoelaces (something in which Harry finally figured out just over a year ago). Nevertheless, Harry never let it set him back. Harry was born and raised in a very physical family who never allowed him to utilise it as an excuse and for that, he's the person he is today.
Going through life, Harry never allowed it to single him out of anything physical. As he entered his teen years, Harry began training in the ways of mixed martial arts (MMA) under his father's tutelage, whom just happens to have a successful domestic MMA school in Hyde, Manchester and a brother, George, who is a former MMA fighter.
In this, Harry's disadvantage always put up hurdles as to how to execute manoeuvres and techniques. All boxing, wrestling and jiu jitsu had degrees of adaptation implemented, however he never allowed the hurdles to stop him in his tracks. Harry is now a long-serving member of his family's MMA gym and is at the level of taking beginners under his wing, helping with the teaching of the fundamentals.
At the humble age of eighteen, Harry received offers from schools, youth clubs and businesses who were aware of him and made contact regarding his story and trials & tribulations. As things developed, Harry needed a name for his speaking program. As quick as the offers came, the brand name followed: Disability Is Ability felt natural. Three years on, Harry continues to speak and inspire children from all backgrounds around Manchester, England.
Harry has been a writer since 2011 within MMA for BritMMA.co.uk and now YourMMA.co.uk. Through his love and passion for the sport, he finds it a rewarding and fitting way to remain in an aspect that matters dearly to him.
He is also the first UK ambassador for the Lucky Fin Project, based in Royal Oak, Michigan and the first international coach for NubAbility Athletics Summer Camp - organisations whose aims are to raise awareness for the same cause. To help raise awareness, Harry has held charity football matches and raised over £1,000 in total.
"Disability is a gift; a test of all kinds. It's a psychological play - you can either control it or let it control you." - Harry Williams.
Photography courtesy of Chuckie Payne.