by David Mendez
In 1983, Sierra Vista's Jessica Cox was born without arms.
Now, she's a motivational speaker, martial arts black belt, certified as the first armless person to hold a pilot's license and subject of a forthcoming documentary about her life.
Inspirational in tone, RIGHTFOOTED is a documentary about Jessica Cox’s amazing life and work as a motivational speaker and advocate for the disabled. On February 2, 1983 at a hospital in Sierra Vista, Arizona, a baby came into this world without arms as a result of a rare birth defect. Everyone who was there that day recalls their emotions of helplessness when they first saw little Jessica. Especially devastated was her mother Inez, who was overwrought. Who would take care of this child as she grew to become an adult, and who would love her? What kind of life could she have without the ability to do even the most basic things like eat or hold a phone or drive? With incredible perseverance and faith, Jessica Cox has learned to do all of those things and much more — with her feet. Against all odds but with strong faith and the help of her family, she put herself through high school and then college, typing papers with her toes. She got her driver’s license and then astonishingly, her pilots license — a feat that landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s only armless pilot. It also allowed her to do what she’d always dreamed of doing: launching a career as a motivational speaker and advocate for the disabled.
Honestly, this is one of the cooler stories I've heard about, and that's partially because I seem to have trouble tying decent shoelace knots by hand, while Cox nails a quality lace-up with her feet alone. But really, this documentary seems like it could be, at the very least, could help Cox reach her goal of assisting and inspiring disabled people and children all across the globe.
My one concern, as someone looking in from the outside and hoping that it doesn't take this tone, is that it might lean in the direction of "look at how this woman was able to do these things...WITHOUT ARMS!" I mean, that's a great hook and all, but part of what should be celebrated is the way she was able to completely tear things up in her life, becoming a pilot, multiple-time black belt, and international-known speaker.
For more on the project, check out the Indiegogo project above, or see her website, rightfooted.com.
Edit: Now would also be a good time to note that Cox also did an "Ask Me Anything" Q&A session on Reddit earlier today. Check it out here.