#politics #society #europeanparliament #europeanunion

By Christina Katsantoni 

Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos

Ever since he can remember himself, his normalcy seemed different. For Stelios Kympouropoulos, the fact that he was born with a disability was normal. But he quickly realised that people had to change so that they could embrace the belief that normality is being diverse. 

The beautiful childhood years

He was born in 1985 and he remembers that his daily life was full of obligations like swimming, traveling, massage, related to his health. He remembers his parents being worried about what could have happened if he would die in adolescence. But above all, he remembers that they did the best they could for him and taught him to do the same.

His childhood was beautiful and full of experiences and stories. His parents insisted on going to a regular school because they wanted their child to be functional and communicative in a public environment and not just a family one. They encouraged him to participate in every school activity and helped him enjoy the first years of his life like any other child.

Great difficulties, great changes

When around the age of 12 he had to undergo a difficult and dangerous operation, his parents were there to support him once more. Guided by the common belief that life changes when you become the change you want to see out there, a miracle took place. From the hospital in France, Stelios came out stronger after many difficulties and ready to become the excellent flag bearer that all of Greece got to know in 1999. 

In 1999, many people stood with Stelios Kympouropoulos and his parents in believing that Stelios deserved to get what he was entitled to. When he first entered High School, he was excluded from the draw for flag bearers due to a 1974 law. However, a teacher stepped forward making the issue public, and the young man paraded next to the flag at the school parade on October 28. Another stereotype had just collapsed and the world had just become a fairer place. 

Stelios Kympouropoulos | ImpacTalk | LeadersTalk | Official Trailer

Watch the full Leaders Talk Episode

Studies and specialty

There was no ramp when he went to study at the Medical School of Athens, but there was one when he graduated. Nevertheless, in order for society to change, a ramp alone isn’t enough. Although a ramp is valuable, as he says, even more valuable is the general recognition that in a society, everyone is unique and necessary. Everyone has the right to be educated and to pursue a scientific career. 

Although nothing was easy for him, he fought really hard and won all the battles. When the time came to choose specialty, he chose psychiatry and found himself in an office watching a window and his colleagues coming in and out. He had to convince others that he needed a personal assistant, so that he could practice his profession like everyone else. Today he’s a well-known psychiatrist who has managed to help many people.  

A MEP with a record

In July 2019, Stelios Kympouropoulos was elected Member of the European Parliament with the New Democracy party, achieving a historic record of votes in European elections.

As in every new challenge in his life, he became actively involved in the work of the European Parliament, constantly traveling and continuing to fight as an active citizen who has taken his life in his own hands and tries to make the world a little better place for everyone. Because, as he says, the meaning of life lies in love, caring and the opportunity of every member of society to live their dreams.