man with crutches

Have courage!

Stories such as the one of Emiliano Malagoli from Italy give hope and inspire, because despite his disability, Emiliano not only completed the New York Marathon, but is also riding a motorbike again. The BMW Group supports him as an ambassador and is involved in numerous projects and initiatives for disabled people.

Emiliano Malagoli did not have the best prerequisites to run the New York Marathon. Nevertheless, in 2019, the Italian took part and completed the 42.195-kilometre stretch – with a prosthesis on his right leg and countless iron and titan screws in his left leg. In doing so, he once again proved to himself and the world that his physical handicap did not prevent him from achieving the extraordinary. Just 400 days after his car accident in 2011, the now 45-year old had again reached his competitive level, and with his motorbike he then took part in the motorsport race at Mugello. As a testimonial for BMW Motorrad Italy, Emiliano soon became a role model for young disabled people. In 2013, he founded the society Di.Di. (www.DiversamenteDisabili.it), and with his motorcycling school he helped more than 350 young handicapped people back into the saddle, organised the world‘s first Paralympic motorcycle races and with his story became the star of the documentary film “50,000 steps”, which was screened at the Arena Palma near Rome in July.   

Overcoming physical and mental barriers with “BMW Driving Experience”.

The BMW Group accompanies and supports the ambitious athlete in all of his campaigns and initiatives, because he encourages others and at the same time changes the way people with disabilities are viewed. Emiliano fights for his dreams and passions – and with that he impresses a broad public. Actually, it was a story like his that inspired two young members of the junior staff at BMW Group Italy to let people with disabilities participate in the “BMW Driving Experience Programme”. The idea was to help affected persons improve their capabilities – and overcome supposedly physical and mental barriers. Since then, more than 200 physically handicapped persons have taken part in the biker training programme. A project that is certainly in the spirit of Emiliano. This is how he gives courage to his fans and after his marathon he advised them: “You must overcome fears, otherwise they become limitations.” 

Konstantin Miltschew is a BMW Group employee and severely disabled. He, too, had to face new challenges after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013. The incurable illness confronts the now 51-year-old with a slowly progressing loss of nerve cells, leading, among other things, to movement disorders. Konstantin opted for openness, spoke to his team and his superiors about his illness and together with Bettina Kempinger, the representative for severely disabled employees, he founded the pilot project “Betroffene helfen Betroffenen” at the Munich location, an initiative that accompanies disabled persons, enabling them to share their experiences.

More than 5,000 severely disabled persons work for the BMW AG.

Konstantin Miltschew is not an isolated case at the BMW Group. There are 5,000 severely disabled persons working for the BMW AG alone. The BMW Group supports those affected – at the workplace and elsewhere. For example, there are now more than 40 jobs at the car body shop which are suitable for disabled people. Sigrid Heudorf, division head of Human Resources Management and Services takes such measures for granted: “Diversity and inclusion are firmly embedded in our HR strategy. Together, we have already achieved so much and we will continue to extend our commitment step by step, with passion and perseverance, perhaps similar to Emiliano when he ran his marathon. Because we are convinced that diversity makes us strong – as a company and as a society.”