… Has learnt to use her feet to drive and using the phone, etc
A Florida teenager born with no arms has become an accomplished Junior Reserve Officer cadet. Donavia Walker, 16, was born with a rare condition that caused her to not develop her upper limbs in the womb.
From a young age she had to learn to use her feet to do everything from homework to answering her phone to driving.
Now, the high school student from Winterhaven is a squad commander on the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), and says she hopes to inspire others with disabilities by showing they too can accomplish anything.
When Tisa Jones was pregnant, medical staff did not inform her that her daughter had not developed arms in the womb.
‘I felt betrayed, like nobody told me nothing,’ Jones said. ‘I’m feeling like the person who did the ultrasound should have known.’
After she was born, Donavia was diagnosed with amelia, a rare condition in which one or more limbs doesn’t form.
The cause is unknown but the limb formation process is usually prevented or interrupted very early, between 24 and 36 days after fertilization.
It is unknown how many people have the condition because most affected infants are stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Although it may be present as an isolated defect, amelia is associated with other malformations 50 percent of the time, according to the National Institutes of Health.
This includes cleft lip and/or palate, internal organ protrusion, a herniated diaphragm, small kidney and lung defects.
Luckily for Jones, Donavia was born without any other major defects, but the first-time mother was still shocked.
At a young age, Donavia quickly started developing techniques to perform everyday tasks – mostly using her feet – and scoots on her buttocks to get around instead of crawling. She has even taught herself how to drive with her feet. She uses her right foot for the steering wheel and her left foot for the accelerator and brake pedals.
But it’s in the JROTC programme where Donavia has really shone, leading her platoon in drill competitions and taking part in activities such as archery and rock climbing.
Donavia’s instructor, Sergeant Major Rudy Carter, who is retired from the US army, says she has inspired him over the three years he has trained her.
For now, Donavia is focused on graduating high school and passing her final driving test, and is intent upon inspiring others along the way.
‘I would say to anyone with a physical condition that you should love yourself and find people who make you feel comfortable with yourself,’ she said.
Culled from dailymail.co.uk