How a 9-Year-Old Girl Born Without Hands Won a National Handwriting Contest


Sometimes, life throws challenges at you that force you to discover creative ways to overcome them. For 9-year-old Anaya Ellick, her biggest obstacle in life is that she was born without hands.

Her arms stop where most people’s wrists begin. Doctors aren’t sure exactly why she was born without hands, but something went wrong while she was developing in the womb.

But she hasn’t let that slow her down. She doesn’t wear prosthetic hands, so in order to hold a pencil, she balances it between in her wrists and then uses both arms to move the pencil up and down on the piece of paper.

She has always found creative ways to hold and move things; even as a young child she learned how to build with blocks and use a fork.

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Because of her determination to push past challenges, she continues to be an inspiration to her teachers, her classmates, and anyone who hears her story.

When she was in the first grade, she won her first handwriting contest, but the resilient little girl didn’t stop there.

She entered second grade and began practicing cursive handwriting. This was more of a challenge for her because unlike traditional handwriting, cursive handwriting doesn’t allow the pencil to picked up between each letter.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard Anaya say ‘I can’t do something,'” her mother, Bianca Middleton, said proudly.

After practicing, she entered another handwriting contest but for cursive penmanship.

She was just recently awarded with the 2018 Nicholas Maxim Award for cursive handwriting from the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.

Middleton is extremely proud of her daughter’s accomplishments and praises God for His provision.

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In a Facebook post she wrote, “Mommy is so proud of you Anaya! I know many days we cried together lol (me more than her) And you didn’t always like when you had to do your work over and over and over again. Because I knew you could so better. Or push through a difficult task. But I know God is doing a great work with you and through you.

If Anaya continues continues on this path, no hurdle placed in her way will be able to stop her.

She already showing great interest and talent in art, so who knows where life will take this precious little girl.

“This beauty will continue to beat ALL odds !! So ready for what God will bring next for you princess,” her mother wrote on Facebook. “I know these accomplishments are only the beginning. We speak together everyday ‘for my God shall supply ALL of my needs…..’ and he will continue to do so…….BOOM.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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