“Think outside the shoe”

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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. For Jessica Macabare Cox, being able to fly a plane was not her biggest accomplishment; rather, it was getting out of the mindset that she had limitations.

In an interview with BBC, Cox said, “The achievement I’m most proud of is maturing from someone who was angry and upset about being differently abled, to now being able to celebrate that and use it as an opportunity to give hope and inspiration to people.”

Born with no limbs, 30-year-old Cox learned to live a normal life with the use of her feet—she can drive, text, fly a plane, type on a keyboard, and play the piano like anyone else, only with her feet. Indeed, to Cox—a licensed scuba diver, pilot with a Guinness World Record, and a taekwondo black-belter—anything is possible. As Cox said upon receiving the Susan G. Komen Inspiration Award in 2012, “If I can fly a plane, what can you do?”

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It’s this idea of “thinking outside the shoe,” or being creative and innovative, that Cox, a psychology graduate at the University of Arizona, wants to promote as a motivational speaker wherever her speaking tour takes her, most recently to Manila, where she spoke before more than 5,000 life insurance and financial services practitioners.

Wanting to reach more people, Cox is working with filmmaker-writer Nick Sparks to raise funds for “Rightfooted,” a documentary about her life.

The documentary will follow Cox as she visits Ethiopia in April, in support of Handicap International’s efforts to foster inclusion of children with disabilities in local schools.

“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to work with Handicap International in furthering their goals in Ethiopia. My accomplishments are just as much a story of opportunity as they are about possibility,” Cox said in a press release.

In Ethiopia, people with disabilities are shunned, and many of them are denied education because their parents don’t think they can gain anything from going to school.

“I hope that sharing my story will help Ethiopians realize that children with disabilities should be given the same opportunities that children without disabilities are given,” Cox said.

Cox will be working with children with disabilities, their parents and teachers, and the Handicap International staff during her stay in Ethiopia.

She plans to meet with government officials and speak on local television and share her life and accomplishment, with the goal of changing people’s attitudes about what can be done and to encourage the acceptance of persons with disabilities.

“There are two words I’ve eliminated from my vocabulary: ‘I can’t.’ Because once you say those words, you’ve already failed.

Watch Video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21377627; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeiqzAJGPCY

Source: BBC News, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/297272/pinoyabroad/pinoyachievers/fil-am-armless-pilot-jessica-cox-think-outside-the-shoe

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