One of the first things new parents do is count the fingers and toes of their newborn. When Jessica Cox entered this world, the count stopped at 10. Total. But that’s the only time the word ‘stop’ has probably ever been used in the same sentence as this courageous and tenacious young lady’s name.
Jessica was born without arms, a result of a rare congenital disease. As with most children who find themselves looking different from others, she found it “difficult to be different.” Despite what many would label as a disability, though, Jessica dived right into activities such as gymnastics and dancing. In fact, if you ask Jessica what her main challenge has been growing up without arms, she’ll say it was “the constant perception of others more than the physical adversity.”
“I had the habit of becoming very upset when people looked at me walking in the street or eating with my feet. However, I learned to look only at the positive side of situations, and this gave me the ability to utilize these positive vibrations to become an example for optimism.”
Jessica’s father, Bill, never shed a tear and certainly does not consider her a victim. While it is difficult to be the father of a person experiencing such a challenge, he was her rock, “the one who forged the person I am today.” Jessica considers her mother her “role model, always telling me I could do all that I wanted to do.”
When Jessica first learned to drive a car, she used modifications on the vehicle to allow her to drive with only her feet. Eventually, she learned so well that she now drives without restrictions. In fact, most people don’t realize she’s driving without arms until she stops to fill her car with gasoline, a task that always draws attention from onlookers.
Holding a big steering wheel may seem relatively ‘easy’ to do with one’s feet, but how about drying her hair, applying makeup, inserting contact lenses, writing? She does them all as quickly and easily as any other 20-something woman.
Perhaps most astounding is that Jessica is the first woman in history to pilot a plan without arms. This inspiring young lady radiates joy and has a wicked sense of humor. On a recent Mother’s Day, she flew alone, dragging a notice board saying simply: “Look Mom, no arms !” That day, she registered approximately 130 hours of flight time by herself.
Thanks to confidence, preparation and ambition, Jessica Cox has become an outstanding speaker – visit www.rightfooted.com to read more about Jessica Cox Motivational Services, a children’s guide in the International Network of Children Amputees, a pilot and an accomplished athlete. She also holds a degree in psychology from the University of Arizona.
“I do not have arms but that is not what determines where I can go,” says Jessica. “And you, what do you lack to touch the sky?”
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