This rad woman born without arms got her black belt, became a licensed pilot
We probably use our arms thousands of times every single day, but it’s easy to take them for granted. Consider, just for a second, what it would be like to live without arms. It’s practically impossible to imagine, right? But for Jessica Cox, from Arizona, this has been a reality ever since she can remember. Jessica was born with a rare non-genetic birth defect that rendered her without arms. But that hasn’t stopped her from kicking ass —literally.
In a video created by Barcroft USA, motivational speaker Jessica, who travels the world with her husband, Patrick, proves that she will let absolutely nothing stop her from achieving her goals. “As a young little girl, I was in just about everything,” Jessica explains in the video. And guys, she really mean everything when she says “everything”: gymnastics, tap-dance lessons, Tae-Kwon Do, modeling —all by the age of ten.”Naturally, people saw the fact that I didn’t have arms as a limiting factor, but I was there to prove them wrong, Cox said. “I didn’t see my not having arms as being a limitation.”
The 32-year-old tried using prosthetic arms as a child, but hasn’t used them since she was a teenager. “There’s nothing that can substitute the tactile ability of flesh and bone, and my feet have the tactile ability to feel whether something was hot or smooth or rough, and it was just a lot easier to be able to make those connections with the feeling my feet provided,” Jessica explained in the video, in which she is depicted writing with her feet, preparing food, and even driving.
Despite her adventurous nature and desire to try everything, Jessica had always been afraid of flying. . . until one awesome day. “One day, a fighter pilot came up to me and he asked if I wanted to fly in a single engine airplane,” Jessica says in the video. “That idea wasn’t something that I was too enthusiastic about, but he encouraged me, my dad encouraged me, and I gathered up my courage. . . when I had a feel for what it was like to handle that airplane, I knew I wanted to become a pilot.”
So, Jessica got to work. She saw numerous coaches, found a plane that had less controls than the average so that she could control it with her feet, and flew for dozens of hours. “The airplane was not customized in any way for me,” she highlights. “. . .I knew if I wanted to become a pilot, I was going to do everything I could.” In 2008, she became the first licensed armless pilot ever.
But that’s not the end of Jessica’s amazing talents. She also became the first person without arms to become a black belt in Tae-Kwon Do —you know, because she’s totally badass. She also goes scuba diving, plays piano, rides horses, and knows how to wakeboard.
“If I had to describe Jessica in three words, it would be kind, positive, and unstoppable,” Patrick says in the video. The pair met in Tae-Kwon Do. “I remember looking across the room and seeing him with this confused look on his face,” she says of her husband. “He later told me it’s because he thought I had arms, and they were in my sweater!” Now, together, they work on Jessica’s motivational speaking.
We totally LOVE this story, and we love this strong, amazing woman who has not only made the best of her situation, but totally kicked ass doing it. You rock, Jessica!
(Images via Barcroft)