IndyCar driver, Justin Wilson, succumbed to his injuries on the 24th of August this year. The popular British driver had sustained a head injury on Pocono Raceway.
Justin Wilson was known for his unwavering humility, kindness and hard work. He believed nothing was impossible and always looked at the bright side of life. Not many know that alongside his extraordinary career on the race track, he was also dyslexic. Wilson was known for his philanthropic work for the dyslexic community.
Challenged by this learning disorder, Wilson became a strong advocate of dyslexia and helped others learn to live with this learning disability. He may no longer be amongst us, but he has left behind a rich legacy.
“I do think dyslexia has helped me”. “It has pushed me to work harder in everything I do”.
Justin Wilson’s life and career is the perfect example of success achieved by hard work and perseverance. He was born in 1978 in Sheffield, England. His passion for racing began at a young age. However, childhood for Wilson wasn’t easy as he was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 14.
Being dyslexic, Wilson was picked on by his classmates. This, however, could not deter him from following his passion, race cars. His family supported him all the way and gave him the confidence to achieve his dreams. While Wilson struggled with reading and studying, he was a natural at racing. Being out there on the racing track, in control and not having to listen to anyone helped him excel and pursue his passion with unwavering determination.
“I think thats why I liked racing, because I could escape from all that; I could get in a go-kart and drive and nobody would tell me what I was doing was wrong. I was in control and just driving around and enjoying myself and escaping from everything. And that gave me focus”.
Wilson began kart racing in 1987 and spent much of his time with British racing driver Paul Stewart. He achieved international attention after winning the inaugural Formula Palmer Audi Championship with nine race wins. From 2004 to 2007, Wilson joined the Champ Car World Series and later moved to RuSPORT that led to his first Champ Car race victory in Toronto.
Over the next couple of years, Wilson grabbed many championship titles and became a well-known race car driver. His professional career, spanning over two decades, was studded with multiple victories, a dream he achieved with sheer hard work and motivation. He was popularly known as the “Gentle Giant of IndyCar”.
Justin Wilson – Beyond the track
Away from the racing track, Justin was a loving father, a husband, a son, and a philanthropist. He spent much of his time helping people who suffered from dyslexia. Wilson could relate to difficulties faced by youngsters with dyslexia. His aim was to help them overcome the learning disability and pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.
Justin Wilson helped fund a number of learning programs for dyslexics, and was a prominent member of many dyslexia organizations. He was named the Ambassador for the International Dyslexia Association.
His generosity touched the hearts of millions. His purpose to serve dyslexic children was far beyond gaining more money and fame. Justin Wilson helped raise funds that benefited dyslexic children and helped build a culture of learning. In 2014, over 200 families benefited from the summer camp organized by the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana, which was funded by many including Justin Wilson.
Wilson wanted to help increase awareness of the disorder. He wanted to make sure children with dyslexia were diagnosed at a young age, to make schooling easier for them through special instruction.
“It beats you down and knocks the confidence out of you; you go to school and all of a sudden feel stupid because you can’t read the book that everyone else in the class has been told to read, and you just sit there and stare out the window thinking: I can’t do this”.
The race car driver helped dyslexics join organizations that reflect their interest. He played an important role in the International Dyslexic Association. At numerous events, he would personally meet with dyslexic children and inspire them to go for their dreams.
Justin Wilson’s tragic death
Wilson’s death has been mourned by many. His generosity and love for humanity knew no bounds. Being an organ donor, he saved the lives of 6 people even after his death, another example of his selfless character and kindheartedness.