Jlissa Austin – who doesn’t have arms or knees – was born with a condition she still has no name for. Doctors told her family she would never be able to walk or lead a normal life.
And yet, the now 30-year-old from Texas, U.S, has not only opened up her own hair weave business, but she is also about to get married.
Even after all these years, Jlissa is unsure what has caused her condition but she has managed to get by – using her feet to brush her teeth and text with her phone.
Her symptoms were not aligned with a particular condition, doctors simply told her mum that Jlissa had a stunted growth and that she wouldn’t experience a good quality of life.
Proving them wrong, Jlissa and fiance Johnathan, who is a 5’6” able-bodied man, live together in Houston and are currently planning their dream wedding for the summer of 2019.
She said among all her achievements, she is happiest to have found her soul mate Jonathan whom she met 13 years ago.
The pair started off as friends all those years ago but eventually fell in love. Now they are excited to become husband and wife.
(Picture: Barcroft Images)‘I didn’t think it would ever happen to me – meeting someone like this. It feels so good to know that Johnathan is by my side,’ Jlissa told BarcroftTV.
‘When people see us walking around together, some of them shake Johnathan’s hand and say “I salute you, you’re doing a good job”. But we don’t experience issues with people judging our relationship too much thankfully.
‘We’re both really looking forward to our wedding now.’
(Picture: Barcroft Images)Jlissa also added that she’d been really fortunate, especially in her childhood as she didn’t experience any bullying, with most children taking to her quickly because of her ‘doll’ size.
Now she also counts herself lucky as she can do lots of things by herself, with some help from fiance Jonathan.
‘The everyday tasks that I can still do; I brush my teeth, use my phone, work on a daily basis and go out and network myself,’ Jlissa added.
‘I can pick a lot of things up with my feet. On a good day, I am also able to take myself to the restroom.
(Picture: Barcroft Images)‘The word “can’t” is just not in my vocabulary. I am here today, being the person I was meant to be.
‘I want to tell everyone to stay strong and be yourself. Never give up.
‘I’m really proud of myself and how far I have come.’
(Picture: Barcroft Images)
(Picture: Barcroft Images)MORE: Disabled woman says reborn dolls have changed her into a devoted ‘mummy’
MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘I’ve had cancer for 12 years but people tell me I’m lucky’
MORE: Autistic people have voices, reducing us to puppets in a play is a betrayal