Meet Joanne, an activist for people with disabilities, a sports journalist and a motivational speaker. She is also one of seven living people born with Tetra-amelia syndrome, a disorder characterised by the absence of all four limbs. Along with her family, they all decided that Joanne was not going to be treated differently and was instead a valued member of her family and society.

In April 2012, she spoke before the United Nations to address the use of technology and challenge the UN to create technology to help disabled people such as herself. Joanne was named “Young Person of the Year” in 2012 and JCI Ten Outstanding Person of the Year Award 2015.

She appears in the 2013 documentary, No Limbs No Limits, which showcases her use of technology to navigate the world. The documentary has captured audiences around the globe and has been seen by over 15 million people worldwide.


Joanne chose to be a part of the ‘I am Number 17’ campaign because she wants to raise awareness and help those living or caring for someone with a rare disease feel seen and supported.

Joanne describes her experience of living with a rare disease as “challenging”, “motivating”, “empowering” and “defiant”.

Photography by Julien Behal