Inspiring change and making a difference are pursuits that were once deemed too idealistic and futile. In the grand scheme of things, they are perceived fruitless and unproductive. However, if there’s anything that change-makers and visionaries have proven, it’s the ability of a person to achieve the impossible so long as they go forward with passion, ambition, and grit. Toby Smiles, a purpose-driven dreamer and influencer, is among today’s young go-getters armed with a goal. Determined to translate into reality the vision of impacting lives and communities positively, he is currently pouring his heart into establishing a name while simultaneously advocating for the welfare of differently-abled people.
Boasting over one million followers on TikTok, Toby is a nineteen-year-old full-time influencer who is banking on his influence and reach for a good cause. The aspiring runway model, who is attending Cairn University, has managed to connect with countless people across the globe in the time since he first dipped his toes in the influencer industry because of his ability to relate and inspire.
Born three weeks early, Toby is no stranger to challenges. During his birth, he endured eight minutes without oxygen. “There I was, a helpless, defenseless little baby on life support, rushed into surgery to have a feeding tube inserted into my tiny body,” he shared. “I stayed there for six long, emotionally exhausting, dreadful weeks. But, although I was too young to realize, now I know God is in every situation at any given time, and he saved me that day.”
Not unlike millions of people, Toby faced multiple hurdles throughout his life. Afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, he had to navigate the complexities of a world that does not readily accommodate those who are disabled and differently-abled. Yet, amid the odds, he persevered and dreamed big, setting an example for others to follow.
Apart from walking down runways and launching a successful merch line, what Toby wants above anything else is to stand as a beacon of hope. “I want to show the world that no matter what disability you might have, your dreams are real if you just push through it to make it happen,” he shared.
Right now, the influencer is shedding light on the lived experiences of those with Cerebral palsy, utilizing the power of social media to raise awareness. At the core of his efforts is the desire to debunk some of the most common myths and urge the world to stop treating people with disabilities like they are not as capable.
On top of using his platforms to educate others, Toby also harnesses his social media power to help disabled people overcome their insecurities and step out of their comfort zone. Creating posts that spark hope and joy, the content creator succeeded in gaining a huge following because of his well-intentioned moves.
The journey ahead is yet unclear for Toby, but regardless of where his current path will lead him, he is committed to doing his part to inspire today’s generation. Moreover, he will not stop serving as the voice of the disabled and differently-abled.