In Minnesota, a three-year-old girl was able to meet a woman born without arms just like her. On July 24th, Fox News reports that Ruth Ellen Pranke met motivational speaker Jessica Cox, who also happens to be the only airplane pilot without upper limbs. Pranke’s mother, Karlyn, connected with Cox on Facebook and eventually brought her daughter to see her.
Karlyn first found out about her daughter’s disability at her 20-week ultrasound appointment and immediately started looking for other people without arms.
She said, “I started Googling stuff and coming across Jessica. Ever since, it’s been very inspirational to me that she has come as far as she has to overcome her disability — and my daughter has always said, especially lately, ‘I want arms, I want arms.'” She added, “I wanted her to see she doesn’t have to have arms. I wanted her to see all the things Jessica can do.”
The pair met at the premiere of Cox’s new documentary, Right Footed, which highlights her advocacy work for the disabled. The film’s director, Nick Spark, said that Cox made meeting Pranke a priority.
He said, “She dropped everything right in the middle of premiere events, and went and spent some quality time with RE and her mother (in cases like this it is often the parents who need the most help!).”
During their visit, Cox showed Pranke her airplane and they were able to share a huge that was caught on camera. Cox said, “The top question I get as a speaker is ‘How do you hug?’ That picture clearly showed that you don’t need arms to embrace someone. It was special that we could feel the same, mutual feeling— what a hug is without arms.”
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She added, “When I meet a child without arms, it feels like I’m giving back. It’s that feeling of ‘Oh, I’m going to be OK. I’m going to be able do everything this woman did,’ is what I’m giving back to RE and other children. It’s saying, ‘I’m going to be just fine.'”
Karlyn was very thankful that Cox spent time with her daughter and believes she will become more independent as she gets older. She concluded, “You adapt to what you are given. She [RE] is able to do some feeding for herself and shes able to use an iPad like its nobody’s business. She’s able to pick things up with her feet and carry it under her chin while she walks. She’s been saying since we got home, ‘She’s just like me. She doesn’t have arms.’”
Watch the YouTube video below to learn more about Jessica Cox.