Woman born without arms defies the odds and motivates the masses

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Jessica Cox is showing the world that doing things differently is not only beautiful - but necessary.

Courtesy: Patrick Chamberlain
Courtesy: Patrick Chamberlain

Born without arms due to a birth defect, 35-year-old Cox has accomplished what most people can only dream of by putting on foot in front of the other - literally.

"Different is not less... it colors the world in a different way," says Cox. "I do everything with my feet. My feet and legs get double duty, because they're not only walking, they're doing the work of hands and arms."

Everyday tasks like writing and driving are no problem for Cox, though. She says she can do anything thanks to her positive attitude - something she learned from her parents.

"My mom always told me with God you can do anything," she says. "My dad never once shed a tear about my birth condition. He never once saw me as a victim."

Cox has more than just a good attitude; she has a passion for adventure.

"I remember the first time I jumped into a swimming pool, because I wanted to swim like everyone else," she says. "I learned to swim - I'm a very good swimmer in fact - starting at the age of five."

After swimming, Cox moved to martial arts and became the first armless black belt in the world. Then, she jumped back into the water to learn to surf and scuba dive.

However, there's only one hobby that's earned Cox a Guinness World Record: flying a plane.

"Of course there were a lot of doubters that thought a woman without arms couldn't possible fly, but I had wonderful support from the aviation community," Cox says. "Even though it took three airplanes, three different flight instructors, numerous hours over the court of three years to finally become a certified pilot... I'm honored to be the first woman pilot to fly a plane with her feet."

Earning her pilot's license is an accomplishment that put Cox on notice. She's gained notoriety around the world and has appeared on several television shows, including The Ellen Show.

Cox spreads her message worldwide motivating people to be different and proud, most recently stopping in Monroe to be the keynote speaker at the Questech Learning "Stars on the Bayou" Fundraiser.

"I've been blessed to achieve my impossibilities, from becoming an armless pilot, to scuba diving to slack-lining, but now it's my turn to travel and speak to other organizations so that they can achieve the impossible."