A Florida teenager born with no arms has become an accomplished Junior Reserve Officer cadet.
Donavia Walker, 16, was born with a rare condition that caused her to not develop her upper limbs in the womb.
From a young age she had to learn to use her feet to do everything from homework to answering her phone to driving.
Now, the high school student from Winterhaven is a squad commander on the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), and says she hopes to inspire others with disabilities by showing they too can accomplish anything.
When Tisa Jones was pregnant, medical staff did not inform her that her daughter had not developed arms in the womb.
‘I felt betrayed, like nobody told me nothing,’ Jones said. ‘I’m feeling like the person who did the ultrasound should have known.’
After she was born, Donavia was diagnosed with amelia, a rare condition in which one or more limbs doesn’t form.
The cause is unknown but the limb formation process is usually prevented or interrupted very early, between 24 and 36 days after fertilization.
It is unknown how many people have the condition because most affected infants are stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Although it may be present as an isolated defect, amelia is associated with other malformations 50 percent of the time, according to the National Institutes of Health.