Donavia Walker, a 16-year-old girl who was born with Bilateral Amelia – a rare condition that caused her to be born without arms – has become a star army cadet, in the US Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).
Having a determined personality, Donavia can do practically everything she wants to.
According to her mother, Tisa Jones, Donavia’s condition was very scary at first and left her feeling extremely shocked.
“It was kind of scary. When Donavia was born I saw these different nurses and doctors just run in the room.” Tisa recalled “I took a glance over and I saw one of her arms was missing.” She added.
As a mother, it can be painful to see your newborn baby not fully developed. Imagine what kind of emotion she had to go through, seeing her little baby in that kind of position.
Growing up, Donavia experienced bullying from other kids, but she didn’t let their words hinder her from doing what she had to do. She started to developed her own techniques to do simple tasks every day. She even learned how to drive using her feet; played football and joined the cheerleading squad.
“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 said.
Cadet in the making
One of Donavia greatest accomplishments was to become a squad commander in the JROTC.
Sergeant Major Rudy Carter, Donavia’s instructor, said that he still remembers the first-day she walked through the door. “I had high hopes for her and she hasn’t disappointed,” he said.
And every time Sergeant Carter sees Donavia walk in the classroom, it reminds him of why he wakes up every morning – it reminds him that there is no limit of what he can do. “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 said.
As for Donavia, she loves to inspire other people by the way she handles her circumstances. She loves to encourage people with a physical condition like her to love themselves more. Much like Pastor Jose Benitez of Mexico!
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