After developer Ather Sharif emerged from the North Dakota car crash that paralyzed him, he didn’t use a computer for a whole year. But, with encouragement from the Philadelphia tech scene, he got back into programming.
Sharif, who said the turning point was when he spoke at the #hack4access accessibility hackathon last summer, is now a Google Scholar and runs a volunteer web accessibility consultancy. More recently, he won the much-coveted Geek of the Year award at the Philadelphia Geek Awards.
Watch his inspiring and charming acceptance speech below. It was filmed and produced by developer and filmmaker Andrew Gormley, who, in an accessibility nod, added subtitles to the video.
In Sharif’s speech, he thanks Geekadelphia for being so inclusive and fittingly so, the past winners for Geek of the Year have been female (2012’s Tristin Hightower) and people of color (2014’s The Black Tribbles).
Sharif also wrote a blog post about his win.
“For me, the Geek of the Year Award is a triumph for the entire disability community,” he wrote.