Pope Benedict XVI greeted 28-year-old Jessica Cox following his March 23 general audience. Cox, a pilot, earned a Guinness World Record in 2008 for being the first woman to fly an airplane using only her feet.
Cox earned the award and official medal in October 2008. She presented the medal to the Pope “to bear witness to the value of life always and everywhere, in every condition,” L’Osservatore Romano reported.
Cox was born in 1983 without arms in Arizona. Though doctors could not explain her condition, she became involved in gymnastics, dance, singing, tae kwon-do and swimming. She obtained her degree in psychology and can drive her own car without assistance.
Jessica spoke about her life and how she carries out daily tasks without arms. She uses her feet to cook, put in her contacts, send text messages and play the piano. “It’s a way of life that I hope will be contagious to young people who live in despair and have no true values,” she said.
In 2008 she obtained her license to pilot small planes after three years of training and over 89 hours of flight instruction.
One of the reasons for which she wanted to get her pilot’s license was because as a girl she was afraid to fly and she wanted to overcome her fear.