Imagine being born without arms. No arms to wrap around a friend ; no hands to hold the ones you love; no fingers to experience touch ; no way to lift or carry things. How much more difficult would life be if you were living without arms and hands? Or what about legs? Imagine if instead of no arms, you had no legs. No ability to dance, walk, run, or even stand. Now put both of those scenarios together… no arms and no legs. What would you do? How would that affect your everyday life?
Nick Vujicic was born with no arms and no legs – but he didn’t let this stop him.
The 26-year-old, who is practically only torso enjoys playing golf and football, he swims and surfs despite having no limbs. He has a small foot on his left hip, which helps him gain balance, write, type and pick up things between his toes (something that, if we think about it, most of us also do!).
“I call it my chicken drumstick,” joked Nick. “I’d be lost without it”.
‘My mother was a nurse and she did everything right during pregnancy but she still blamed herself,’ he said.
Nick’s parents also found multiple solutions so that he could get along by himself. His father taught him how to type with his foot from the age of six and his mother invented a plastic device that allowed him to hold a pen and pencil with his foot.
Another major decision Nick’s parents had to make was to send Nick to mainstream school. And, as Nick says, it was probably the best decision they could have made. Even though Nick had to face hostility from classmates this eventually made him stronger.
‘It was very hard but it gave me independence.’
Nick also had a special wheelchair and a team of people that would care for him. Due to the pressure that was put on him by peers and people around, at the age of 8, he was deeply depressed and told his mother that he wanted to die. But with the help of his family and friends, Nick managed to overcome his fears and depression and has become a motivational speaker, travelling to over 24 countries speaking to groups of up to 110.000 people.
Nick’s change came from an article he read when he was thirteen, about a disabled man who managed to achieve great things and help others.
‘I decided to be thankful for what I do have, not get angry about what I don’t.
And so, in 1990 Nick was awarded the Australian Young Citizen of the Year award for his bravery and perseverance. And his success has continued until now.
‘once I was in a car and this girl at traffic lights was giving me the eye. She could only see my head so I decided to do a 360 in the car seat to freak her out.’
‘Her face was like woooooooah what is going on? She sped off really quickly.’
Nick began travelling the world and in 2008 he went to Hawaii and met surfing master Bethany Hamilton, which you can remember from our feature on her HERE.
‘She was amazing, said Nick. ‘She taught me how to surf and I was terrified at first, but once I got up there it felt absolutely fantastic and I caught some waves pretty well.’ Nick quickly learned how to do three 360 degree spins on his board – a feat that got him on the cover of Surfer magazine within 48 hours.
‘No one has ever done that in the history of surfing,’ he said.
‘But I have a very low centre of gravity so I’ve got pretty good balance.’
‘I tell people to keep on getting up when they fall and to always love themselves,’ he said.
‘If I can encourage just one person then my job in this life is done.’
Nick Vujicic is the living proof that no one should be discouraged by the difficulties that show up during life, no matter how big they might be. Although at the beginning even he had to face his own discouragement and the prejudice of people around, this sometimes bringing him to the verge of suicide, even at the frail age of 10, Nick managed to overcome everything and succeed in many domains- becoming a role model for everyone.
You can visit http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/ the organisation of which Nick is president and see more information about him. HERE is an interview with Nick and Bethany Hamilton,as well as more information on Bethany.
Pictures and information on Nick Vujicic are taken from http://www.dailymail.co.uk unless mentioned differently.