The Video of A Man Without Limbs Goes Viral
Nick’s videos have been shared with over 4.5 million people worldwide. He was born in Brisbane, Australia, on 4 December, 1982, and is the eldest son of Dushka and Boris Vujicic, who emigrated from Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia) due to communist repression at home. Nick has a sister, Michelle, and a brother, Aaron.
Nick was born with a rare disorder called “tetra-amelia syndrome.” In layman’s terms, this is the absence of all four limbs. Unfortunately, this was despite his mother’s healthy diet and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, along with two seemingly-normal ultrasounds, during her pregnancy.
It is said that Nick’s father, after witnessing his delivery, was in a state of shock seeing only Nick’s shoulders and no arms. He could not face his son and had to leave the delivery room. Nick’s mother, knowing that something was wrong, demanded answers from the doctors. When told about Nick’s condition, she found it tremendously difficult to accept that Nick was born without limbs. “Take him away, I don’t want to touch him or see him,” she said to the nurses.
Little did they know of the life that Nick would lead.
In his early years, he saw himself as just another adorable child, blissfully ignorant of any difference between him and other children.
Nick’s parents moved his family from Brisbane to Melbourne, only to learn that Nick was prohibited by state law from attending school due to his disability (even though he was not mentally impaired). Nick’s parents challenged this law, eventually making Nick the first disabled child to join a mainstream school.
Attending school was both a frustrating and disheartening experience; he began to challenge God and his faith, questioning why he was born with such a disability. So depressed was Nick at he nearly attempted suicide at the age of ten. He planned to drown himself in the bath; however, an overwhelming sense of guilt came over him as he imagined his grief- and guilt–stricken parents at his funeral, and he abandoned his plan. He did, however, continue to challenge and question his faith, which would trouble him for some time to come.
Throughout Nick’s youth, he dealt not only with the typical challenges of physical disability; many wrongfully assumed he was also mentally disabled. Nick continued to struggle with depression and loneliness, leading him to ponder even more deeply on why, and how, he was born with no arms or legs.
In an effort to fit in at school, Nick even tested out specially-designed electronic arms and hands. He soon realized, however, that they were not only awkward heavy, but attracted further insults and made him a common target of bullies.
His turning point came when his mother showed him a newspaper article about another man and his struggle with physical disability. A corner had been turned for Nick as he realized that he was not alone in his own struggles, and he decided to embrace his disabilities. He not only became more grateful for his life, but he truly embraced it and set out to accomplish goals that would inspire others.
From this realization, Nick learned to write with a pen in his two toes using a special grip, and even developed a special technique to type on his computer using his heel and toe. He truly accepted the challenge of becoming as independent as he could; he learned how to get himself a glass of water, brush his teeth, comb his hair, shave, and throw a tennis ball, pick up the phone and even how to play drum pedals.
Ever the joker, Nick would often go with his brother and friends to shopping centres in his electronic wheelchair. They would scream out “Look, Alien!!” to shock fellow shoppers, followed by bouts of hysterical laughter.
By grade seven (12 years old), Nick was elected school captain in addition to serving on the school’s student council. He became actively involved in fund raising events, charities, and other various campaigns.
Life Without Limbs Foundation
According to what Nick wrote in his first book, he “made his life right” with God at 15 years old when he asked for forgiveness and direction. He was baptized four years later.
At 17 years old, Nick was known for leading prayer meetings and speaking at public events. It was at this age when he founded his non-profit foundation, “Life Without Limbs.”
By 19 years old, he had dedicated his time to studying Accounting and Financial Planning at Griffith University. He also became interested in pursuing a career as a motivational speaker to share his stories of overcoming adversity by pondering on God’s message of love and encouragement. His central message, simply put, is that there is a purpose behind each of our struggles, and how we face them determines whether or not we can triumph over them.
He always asks the following question to his audiences around the globe: “Would you have the strength to repeatedly tell yourself, ‘NEVER GIVE UP?’”
At the age of 21 years old, Nick graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Griffith University in Queensland with a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning. Much to his parents’ concern - they expected Nick to pursue a career in accounting - he decided to become a full-time motivational speaker.
Life's Greater Purpose Videos and Book
Nick travelled the world between 2003 and 2005, motivating and evangelizing students, church groups, charities, business leaders, and presidents of big and small groups all over the world.
He made a short film and motivational DVD about his life, entitled “Life’s Greater Purpose,” in 2005. By the end of the year, he was nominated Young Australian of the Year for his accomplishments.
In 2006, Nick moved to California to focus on his public speaking career, and there he started his own company, “Attitude Is Altitude.” He also began penning thoughts for his first book, which would later be entitled “Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life.” As Nick’s success as a public speaker rose, so did his national media attention. Television networks frequently approached him for interviews and he has appeared on such programs as 20/20 and 60 minutes.
Nick was again featured in a short film in 2009, called “The Butterfly Circus.” The film won first prize at the Method Film Festival, received a Doorstop Film Award, and gave Nick his first “Best Actor” award. In 2010, the film also won the Best Short Film Award at the Feel Good Film Festival.
Marriage and Becoming A Father
Nick met his wife-to-be, Kanae, in 2010. The two described how they met in a recent interview with Peter Overton of Sixty Minutes Australia:
"It was love at first sight… There’s a lot of love stories out there, but it’s a special one—very special."
Nick proposed to Kanae in 2011, while sailing on a yacht off the coast of Santa Barbara, and they married in February 2012.
Nick remains busy to this day; he has recently completed and published another bestselling book, “Unstoppable,” and Kanae gave birth to their first child in February 2013.
There is much more history to be written about this young man—his courage, faith, fatherhood, and passion for making the world a better place have inspired millions. Again, our attitude towards our inevitable struggles can make or break us. In Nick’s case, his faith and optimism completed him and made him whole.
Awards & Achievements
- 2001: Became a motivational speaker and evangelist. Began travelling around the world spreading his message to millions
- 2003: Graduated from Griffith University Queensland Australia with a degree in Accounting & Financial Planning
- 2005: Nominated for Young Australian of The Year
- 2005: Short film documenting Nick’s life, “Life's Greater Purpose,” released
- 2008: Interviewed by Bob Cummings on 20/20
- 2009: Top Prize from Doorpost Film Project for starring in “The Butterfly Circus”
- 2010: Best Short Film at the Feel Good Film Festival
- 2010: Published Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life
- 2010: Launched “Something More” Project with Tyrone Wells
- 2011: Embarked on a Life Without Limbs World Tour
- 2011: Engaged to Kanae
- 2011: Promotes Year End Appeal
- 2012: Pain to Promise / Plant Seeds DVD launched
- 2012: Nick and Kanae married
- 2012: Launched “Bullying - Stop the Epidemic” Campaign
- 2012: Published bestseller “Unstoppable”
- 2012: Launched 2013 World Outreach Campaign
- 2013: Kanae gave birth to a healthy baby boy