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Born Without Arms Inspiration Speaker Lets Nothing Hold Her Back

DSC_0287 DSC_0288 DSC_0291Story by Robert Chartuk
“Thinking outside the shoe” sounds like an odd theme for an inspiration speaker, but for Jessica Cox, who holds a Guinness Record for the “First Armless Person in the World Ever to Have Obtained a Pilot’s License,” it’s a secret to her success.
Speaking to a crowd hosted by Mid Island Air Service in Ronkonkoma last week, Cox described her frustration as a six-year-old when her classmates were first taught to tie their shoes. Having already mastered many activities of daily life using her feet and toes—and the occasional chin—Jessica figured it out quite quickly.
Thinking outside the shoe, the youngster simply tied her laces a little bit loose with her shoes off and then, to the amazement of her teacher, slipped them on one after another.
In a large airplane hanger filled with new-found admirers, Cox issued a challenge to a volunteer from the audience: Open a can of soda and drink it without using his arms. After a few minutes struggle and various suggestions from the crowd, he was able to open it with his teeth. Drinking it was another story and he found it impossible.
Letting the volunteer off the hook, Jessica deftly opened a can with her toes and, gripping it from the bottom, brought it to her lips with her leg. She thanked him for his participation not with a high five, but a foot five.
Looking at everyday tasks differently came in handy when Cox climbed into a cockpit for the first time, her instructor having no clue how the nimble young lady was going to buckle her four-point seat belt. To his amazement, she simply buckled it first and eased into it just like she slid her shoes on so many years before.
Jessica’s can-do attitude also earned her certification as a scuba diver and two Black Belts and a state championship in Taekwondo. She plays the piano, surfs, swims, and eats with chopsticks. She is admittedly not very good at basketball and is happy to get into any event for free that requires a wrist band. Cox has appeared on Ellen and has been covered by the media worldwide. She’s spoken at the Pentagon and has met the Pope. Once, she asked President Obama if she could fly Air Force One.
Jessica travels the world with her husband, Patrick, bringing a message of courage and hope to many, especially those who face similar challenges, including veterans who have lost limbs in service to our country. “It is not our physical attributes that hold us back,” Jessica says, “but our attitude. Desire is 80 percent of success. If there is something you wish to accomplish, don’t let anything stop you. When we say, ‘I can’t,’ we set ourselves up for failure. Never use those words. Never give up.”
Jessica plans to bring her inspirational story to 20 countries this year and is learning mountain climbing to someday conquer some of the world’s most challenging peaks.
For more on Jessica Cox and her incredible journey, visit www.jessicacox.com where you can see her amazing videos and order her book, “Disarm Your Limits.”

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