When Torstein Lerhol was a year old, he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy.
Having the disease meant that he'd never walk, among other things. His parents, however, quickly made an important decision—one that probably led him to become the man he is today.
Torstein was brought up just like his siblings, and his parents wouldn't let him see the disease as an obstacle.
Like his siblings, Torstein graduated from university and traveled widely. He wanted to become a teacher, though he also developed an early interest in politics.
Torstein, who only weighs 38 pounds (17kg), is full of humor and has learned to take life in stride. It's part of what has made him such an inspiration to others and it has also brought him many requests for speaking engagements.
But one day, was Torstien received a very unusual request.
A young photographer named Henrik Fjørtoft asked Torstein if would be interested in posing nude for him.
Torstein was aware that "I'm no Brad Pitt," and didn't want think anyone needed to see naked pictures of him. But he also hasn't let his curved spine and atrophied legs stop him from anything.
Torstein isn't naive and knows that looks can definitely be a factor, but his education and career have help him realize that he can achieve his goals just as he is.
Torstein doesn't think that one's body and appearance should determine their self-image.
And it was with this attitude that he made the decision to accept Henry's request.
Torstein wrote on his blog:
"I thought for a long time about whether to publish these words and pictures. I would like to show that neither my body nor my appearance have had a huge influence on my inner being or self-perception. Body and appearance have never stopped me from setting big goals—and also achieving them. I hope that these words reach all those people who worry too much about their external selves, and that what I write can help them understand their internal life better. Because our inner merits should determine whether we're successful, not the outer ones."
The photographer wanted his pictures to show that beauty is so much more than we usually think of it as.
All people should be accepted in society, regardless of their appearance or physical capabilities.
Please share this article if you also think that Torstein is a real role model!