Meeting Jessica Cox
“She does what?” I had asked again to make sure I understood what a friend was telling me… “She flies with her feet!” he said again. “Let me introduce you.” I grabbed my camera and patiently awaited my turn to meet the incredible Jessica Cox!
I watched as she effortlessly worked a crowd of admirers, answering each question and “shaking” each foot. Yes, I said that. Jessica was born with a rare birth defect that left her armless. While most people shake hands when they meet someone, Jessica “shakes feet.” In fact, Jessica does everything with her feet! I watched as she held a marker between her toes to sign autographs. I watched as she held a microphone with her foot to speak into during an interview. I found myself standing there as another admirer.
Jessica Cox is a 32 year old sensation! She has done more in her 32 years of life then most have done in their entire lives. And she does it all without arms! She’s a surfer, a certified SCUBA diver, has 2 black belts in Tae Kwon Do and is an international keynote speaker. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 2005 with a bachelors degree in Psychology and a minor in communications. She’s the subject of the documentary, “Right Footed” and has authored a book entitled “Disarm Your Limits.” She’s also in the Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the first armless pilot in 2008.
Her parents have always been very supportive. Her father, William Cox, says he didn’t think about whether her future was going to be grim or not. “I just assumed her future was going to be great!” He wasn’t wrong. “If I did anything, it wasn’t to prove to anyone else I could do it, “ Jessica says adding “the greater the challenge, the greater the appreciation you have when you accomplish it.”
Flying was Jessica’s greatest fear. At the age of 21, Jessica was speaking at a Rotary Club when a fighter pilot asked is she would like to fly in a small airplane. Having never flown before, Jessica was nervous about accepting a ride. Her father, who was present at the time, and is an aviation enthusiast himself, spoke up and said “She would love to!” Jessica flew and she never looked back! Her fear of flying gave way to a love of flight, a passion for flying, and presented her with yet another opportunity, another challenge… obtaining her pilots license. In October of 2008, Jessica did just that. She earned a light sport license allowing her to fly to altitudes of 10,000 feet and is certified to fly the ERCO 415-C Ercoupe. Unlike other planes, the Ercoupe was built without rudder peddles. Jessica can control the plane with one foot using the yoke and the other foot to control the throttle. “Flying is the ultimate form of independence,” says Jessica. I’m not sure anyone would disagree.
To find out more about Jessica please visit her website. https://www.rightfooted.com/