Toddler without arms meets first-ever armless pilot

A 3-year-old girl born without arms got the chance to meet someone who looked just like her— and happens to be the first-ever armless pilot.

RE Pranke of St. Paul, Minnesota, met Jessica Cox, a motivational speaker born without arms, on July 24, at the premiere of “Right Footed,” a documentary about Cox as she overcame adversity to become an accomplished martial artist, airplane pilot and advocate for the disabled.

Pranke’s mother, Karlyn, first learned of Cox when she found out at 20 weeks of pregnancy that her daughter, Ruth Evelyn, would be born without arms, ABC News reported. She and Cox connected on Facebook, leading to a photo of RE and Cox sharing a hug.

"The top question I get as a speaker is 'How do you hug?'" Cox told ABC News. "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.”
Karlyn drove six hours to meet Cox, who, by request, showed the toddler her airplane.

"It was amazing," Karlyn told ABC News. "I'm just grateful that we had the opportunity to show everyone that it doesn't matter if you have arms or not, that you can do the same things as everyone else— you just may have to do it a little differently.

During the premiere, held at the EAA’s AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Cox made sure to make time to see the Prankes.

“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!),” “Right Footed” director Nick Spark told via email.

Karlyn told ABC News that she hoped Cox would motivate her daughter that she can overcome any disability and adapt.

"When I meet a child without arms, it feels like I'm giving back," Cox told the news channel. "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.'"

According to ABC News, Cox and Karlyn have kept in touch, with Cox sharing tips and support.

“Right Footed” is currently on the festival circuit and more information is available on their website.

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