Donavia Walker, 16, is a true inspiration. She was born with a rare condition, Bilateral Amelia, that caused her not to develop her upper limbs in the womb. But don’t let that fool you, this super-girl can do practically everything she puts her mind to, including becoming an outstanding army cadet in the JROTC.
The condition came as quite of a shock to Donavia’s mother, Tisa Jones. “It was kind of scary. When Donavia was born I saw these different nurses and doctors, they just ran in the room.” Tisa recalled.
“I’m asking my mom and my aunt, ‘What’s wrong with her?’ and then I looked over at them and they are crying…I took a glance over and I saw one of her arms were missing.” She added. But it wasn’t just one arm, doctors revealed that she’d given birth to an armless baby girl.
Her baby’s condition came as a shock to Tisa as no one told her during the pregnancy that her baby wasn’t forming arms. However, even without arms, little Donavia didn’t let anything hold her back. From a young age, she began developing her own techniques to perform everyday tasks.
Instead of crawling, she scooted around on her bottom. As time went by, Donavia kept figuring out how to use her feet to do practically everything.
“I noticed she would grab stuff with her foot so I’m like, I’m just gonna let her do it her way. She taught herself to draw, she actually can tie other people’s shoes, she feeds herself, she takes herself to the bathroom, she does everything in the bathroom herself, I’m still trying to figure out how but she does it.” Tisa said.
Donavia has even learnt how to drive using her feet. “People would put me down because they didn’t think I could do as much as I can. They would tell me, ‘You can’t hold it, you have to use your hands to hold it’ or ‘You can’t get that, you gotta use your hands to get it. I was like, ‘I can get it with my feet. I will find a way,'” she says.
Donavia played football at school and even joined the cheer-leading squad. But with her incredible drive, one of her greatest accomplishments has been becoming a squad commander in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).
Donavia’s instructor, Sergeant Major Rudy Carter, US Army retired, said, “I remember the first day she walked through the door. I had high hopes for her and she hasn’t disappointed.”
“Every day that I see her walk through my classroom is a day that I realize that when I get up in the morning there is nothing that should limit me or nothing should hold me back. It’s people like Angel (Donavia) that make my job worth getting up for in the morning, make me want to get up and do the best that I can.” He added.
As for Donavia, she is glad to inspire others while she’s just being her true self. “I would say to anyone with a physical condition that you should love yourself and find people who make you feel comfortable with yourself. There’s no reason you shouldn’t love yourself.”
How inspiring is this incredible young woman!