ST. LOUIS (KTRS) Advocates for the disabled say tributes for Stephen Hawking that focus on his own affliction with ALS are missing the point. Hawking died this week at the age of 76. He suffered most of his life from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease..
A local advocate for rights for the disabled is Colleen Kelly Starkloff, who co-founded the Starkloff Disability Institute with her late husband, Max Starkloff. She says Max Starkloff wanted to be remembered for his work and not his own disability, and she says Hawking wanted the same. She and her husband met Hawking at the White House in 19-88:
“If we’re going to accept people with disabilities, we should talk to people like we would anybody else. And if they want to bring up their disability, they’ll do it. But people who are not disabled don’t have to make a deal out of it,” Starkloff said.
Max Starkloff also founded Paraquad, which has pushed for disability rights in Missouri and nationwide.