Indian-American Navin Kumar is on a mission: to defy all odds laid against him. He is proof that people with medical issues and/or disabilities can lead not only productive, but extraordinary lives. The list of Navin’s accomplishments is surely longer than his health conditions. He is a Hollywood movie actor, a Table Tennis athlete representing the USA in international competition as part of the Para Olympic program, a musician, and a motivational speaker!
Navin has survived five major open heart surgeries that led to a partially mechanical heart and a pacemaker. Six years ago, at the age of 39 he was diagnosed with young onset of Parkinson’s disease. Despite his medical challenges and nicknamed the “Bionic Man” in the competitive Table Tennis world, Navin continues to represent the USA (for Table Tennis) in international competitions, with the next one being in October at the inaugural International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Parkinson’s Table Tennis Championships in Pleasantville, New York. He is determined to win a gold medal for the US.
In June 2015, Navin represented the USA at his first ever international Table Tennis competition, the “Spanish Para Open”, in Barcelona, Spain. Though he did not win any medals Navin believes that the privilege to participate and represent his country in itself was equivalent to winning a gold medal.
Navin made history in December 2018 at the “US Open Championships” in Orlando, Florida, when he became the first ever medalist with Parkinson’s and congenital heart condition to win two bronze medals for the USA at the US Open for Table Tennis.
As if his athletics were not impressive enough, Navin made his Hollywood movie debut earlier this year in the movie, “Attack of the Unknown” which is scheduled to be released in theaters across the country, at the earliest, this fall. He plays the role of a SWAT Team police officer named Atul, who is in charge of driving the armored SWAT van. Not only does he have speaking lines in the movie but he has also served as an executive producer! The movie role holds a special place for Navin because his maternal grandfather, originally from Karnataka, was stationed as the chief of police in Vijayawada, a town in Andhra Pradesh. Navin dedicates his movie performance to his late grandfather who passed away a few years before Navin was born.
As a young boy, Navin performed Bollywood-style vocals and played the violin at Indian shows and weddings. This strengthened his fearless attitude to eventually speak on stage as a motivational speaker. Navin currently travels all over the country, sharing his story. He also uses social media, online features and television interviews to inspire people to not let their struggles stop them from achieving their dreams. In his motivational speeches, he teaches his audiences strategies to deal with the tough times in life. Navin’s motto is “Never give up”. Though life has knocked him down several times, he has fought back and picked himself up with a positive attitude and a smile. He conquers his health challenges by staying physically active and having a positive attitude. Navin has chosen to feel “ENABLED” and not disabled.
An IT professional for the Federal Government, Navin currently resides in the Washington DC Metropolitan area.
Source:Based on Navin’s bio
Anita R Mohan is a poet and a freelance writer who lives in Fairfax, Virginia. Her passion is writing about people who are making a difference by inspiring others. Anita is also a volunteer Adult ESL tutor at the Chantilly Regional Library in Virginia.