of Jessica Cox
Inspirational in tone, RIGHTFOOTED is a documentary about Jessica Cox’s amazing life and work as a motivational speaker and advocate for the disabled. On February 2, 1983 at a hospital in Sierra Vista, Arizona, a baby came into this world without arms as a result of a rare birth defect. Everyone who was there that day recalls their emotions of helplessness when they first saw little Jessica. Especially devastated was her mother Inez, who was overwrought. Who would take care of this child as she grew to become an adult, and who would love her? What kind of life could she have without the ability to do even the most basic things like eat or hold a phone or drive? With incredible perseverance and faith, Jessica Cox has learned to do all of those things and much more — with her feet. Against all odds but with strong faith and the help of her family, she put herself through high school and then college, typing papers with her toes. 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. It also allowed her to do what she’d always dreamed of doing: launching a career as a motivational speaker and advocate for the disabled.
In May of 2012 Jessica Cox got married to her former Taekwondo instructor (she has two black belts). There were many well-wishers there that day, including three young girls — Teresa, Ana and Ira —who were also born without arms. They shared in Jessica’s joy, and took away something to bolster their own self-esteem. We filmed the entire event, including the ecstatic moment when Ira caught Jessica’s bouquet. Jessica threw it with her right foot, and Ira caught it with her chin!
That is only one instant out of many wonderful things we’ve filmed this past year as part of RIGHTFOOTED, attesting to Jessica’s determination, generous spirit, and enthusiasm for life. Jessica is a woman of extreme courage and accomplishment… but she knows that in many places in the world the disabled face so much prejudice that even extreme courage and faith are not enough. In some places in Africa for example, people with disabilities are often perceived as “unwanteds”, punished by angry ancestral spirits. Shunted aside by society, they are rarely accepted into the mainstream world and become beggars. This is the kind of adversity Jessica wants to confront and to change. In 2013, Jessica will be traveling to Ethiopia in partnership with acclaimed NGO Handicap International. She’ll be visiting schools where children with disabilities are being incorporated into the general student population, and engaging local media to spread a message of acceptance and opportunity. She’ll be working directly with the Ethiopian children and their families to show these ostracized kids that the sky truly is the limit for them, if they believe it to be. This is part of her mission in life, and something truly important. By documenting it, Jessica’s methods and message can truly be shared with the world.
RIGHTFOOTED chronicles Jessica’s amazing story of overcoming adversity and her ongoing work to change the lives of other people – disabled and “normal”. Her message is not just about disability, it’s about the importance of being different. That’s a belief she continues to share, group by group, family by family, child by child, and with your help she will reach many, many more people. Jessica’s goal with this film is to touch and inspire anyone who feels different, and create enormous change. This documentary is the incredible story of a woman who would not let even the most severe physical limitations stop her. It’s a universal film that will touch and inspire anyone who feels different for any reason. It is our hope to share Jessica’s story in schools, and on television and via the Internet, all over the world.