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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Hernandez

Jessica Cox World's First Armless Pilot Sets Out On New Mission To Inspire Others


By Alyssa Hernandez | WeINSPIRE Journalist

PEMBROKE, N.C. - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers estimate that about 1 in every 1,900 babies is born with a limb reduction defect in the United States. They found some of these babies will be born with both upper and lower limb reduction defects.

Meet Jessica Cox who has accomplished so much, despite her limb difference. Cox simply learned how to adjust everyday tasks by using her feet. Cox is a motivational speaker who has spoken in 27 countries. She is also a life coach. She became the first armless pilot as well as the first armless person in the history of the American Taekwondo Association.

Jessica Cox sitting on airplane. Courtesy of Patrick Chamberlain.


“ Everything I have achieved are opportunities that crossed my path. You know, everyone has opportunities cross their path. I was just the person who always said yes I will do it,” Cox said.

The CDC says people with limb differences will face challenges such as difficulties with normal development such as motor skills, needing assistance with daily activities and limitations with certain movements, sports, or activities. In addition, they may face potential and social issues because of appearance. Because Cox did not want anyone to feel alone like she did, she founded the Rightfooted International Foundation, a nonprofit about advocacy, mentoring, education and inspiration.

“I growing up without arms and thought I was the only one in the world without arms; then I met one other person like me. She changed my life because I was like, “Oh my god, there are other people like me.”That feeling of not being the only one can do a number on someone who feels isolated. I realized that a sense of community is what I want to give others who feel isolated,” Cox shared.

Cox also shared that it took her years to accept who she truly was. She explained her family helped her by just being there for her and reminding her she could do anything. She specifically mentioned how her mom helped her by putting her in martial arts.

Jessica Cox with nunchunks. Courtesy of Patrick Chamberlain.


“ I did face a lot of emotional challenges. I know it sounds like, “Oh, it must be hard to do anything physically with no arms.” In reality, it is more of the emotional challenges of being different, being the only one who is different, and always getting attention because of it,” Cox said.

When Cox was in high school, she was presented with the opportunity to speak to a group of seventh-graders about her story. She said yes and this started her interest in becoming a motivational speaker. Cox made the decision in college to become a motivational speaker before starting her foundation.

In the future, she hopes to hold hybrid events where people can talk and hang out.


Courtesy of Patrick Chamberlain.

To keep up with Cox go to her website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin.

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