Ruth Evelyn Pranke, a three-year-old armless girl, drove six hours to embrace an armless pilot, Jessica Cox. The inspiring photo which was taken at the time proves that the world does not need arms to express emotions and go in for a hug.
“It was amazing, 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,” said Karlyn Pranke of St Paul, mother of RE Pranke to ABC News.
During her 20th week of pregnancy Karlyn Pranke came to know that her daughter will be born without arms. Ever since then, the mother wanted her daughter to meet motivational speaker Cox.
“I started Googling stuff and coming across Jessica. Ever since, it’s been very inspirational to me that she has come as far as she has to overcome her disability — and my daughter has always said, especially lately, ‘I want arms, I want arms. I wanted her to see she doesn’t have to have arms. I wanted her to see all the things Jessica can do,” the mother said.
On July 24, Pranke took her daughter on a six-hours long drive to the premiere of Right Footed, a documentary about Cox, who also has earned a third degree black belt.”I was surprised that they drove that distance to meet me. They wanted to meet me, hear my story, and show RE that she’s not the only one. It was just as important I think for RE’s mom to meet me and reassure her that her daughter is going to be just fine,” said Cox. Cox honoured the request of the young girl simply by spending time with the two Pranke women.
“I did show her the airplane which was a wild moment for her. From the time she saw me, ‘Where’s the airplane you fly?’,” Cox shared with ABC. Cox can also skydive, swim, cycle, and drive, using only her feet. This visit was very important for RE and her mother.
“I thought it would be motivating for her, showing that she can overcome your disability no matter what you are born with, or what you are born without. You adapt to what you are given. She [RE] is able to do some feeding for herself and she’s able to use an iPad like it’s nobody’s business. She’s able to pick things up with her feet and carry it under her chin while she walks. She’s been saying since we got home, ‘She’s just like me. She doesn’t have arms’,” said Pranke.
“The top question I get as a speaker is ‘How do you hug?’ 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. When I meet a child without arms, it feels like I’m 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’,” said Cox.
Pranke and Cox will reportedly be in touch since no one but Cox can give the perfect advice to the little child on how to physically strengthen her balance as she gets older.