Hugging without arms: St. Paul girl gets inspiration from armless pilot


A St. Paul girl who was born without arms has a new role model.

Three-year-old R E Pranke took a trip to an airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last week to meet Jessica Cox, the world's first armless pilot.

ABC's Good Morning America reported on their meeting, which was also documented on Cox's Facebook page.

The girl's mother, Karlyn Pranke, tells ABC she learned even before R E (short for Ruth Evelyn) was born that the girl would have no arms. She soon decided that she would want her daughter to meet Cox, who is also a motivational speaker.

Last week's Experimental Aircraft Association show in Oshkosh is where a documentary film about Cox, "Right Footed," made its U.S. premiere.

A video posted to the "Right Footed" Facebook page shows Cox signing a poster for R E.

Jessica Cox signs a poster for a little girl who was born with...

We're at AirVenture and just met RE, who was also born without arms. Her mother drove six hours to get her here ... and ended up with personal time with Jessica Cox. Here she is signing a "Right Footed" documentary movie poster for RE! This is the reason we made this film! It was also so appropriate on the big anniversary for the Americans with Disabilities Act -- happy birthday ADA!Want to support Jessica Cox and help her attend more film festivals and share her important message of hope, opportunity and perseverance? Consider making a tax deductible donation via While you're on the site check out the trailer and read the blog for more information about RE and this very, very special meeting...

Posted by Right Footed A documentary film about Jessica Cox on Friday, July 24, 2015

According to the movie's blog, Cox had been in "Oshkosh mode" – focusing on the work of promoting the documentary – but upon meeting R E she "...immediately switched back to being a mentor – a quiet, patient friend to this little girl and her mother. "

The blog post relates how Cox managed to slip away from her schedule long enough to take R E to a nearby plane similar to the one she flies.

Cox tells ABC meeting a child without arms allows her to feel like she's giving back:

"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.'"

Her mother says R E got the message. Karlyn Pranke tells the network, "She's been saying since we got home, 'She's just like me. She doesn't have arms.'"

NBC's TODAY show says in addition to her piloting skills, Cox has a black belt in martial arts and is active in skydiving, swimming, and cycling.

In the trailer for "Right Footed" Cox says "...if I was given the choice, I wouldn't want the arms. Because of the wonderful things I’ve been able to do, [and] the lives I’ve been able to touch.”

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