Lacey Merrifield of Douglas County, Oregon, is a popular, happy, well-adjusted, average four-year-old little girl. She goes to school, plays with friends, enjoys her video games and grandma's iPad. But Lacey does things differently: Where most people would use their hands to get things done, Lacey uses her feet.
During a routine doctor’s visit in her third trimester, doctors told Lacey’s mom something that a parent never wants to hear—something was wrong. They saw that Lacey had not developed any arms. As much as the doctors searched for a reason or diagnosis for her condition, they weren't able to find one. Lacey’s condition remains a mystery.
Lacey may have been born without arms, but that doesn't stop her from accomplishing everything she wants to in life. This little gift from God is a true inspiration to anyone struggling in life. Lacey struggles to learn to do everyday things that most of us take for granted but you will not find a more determined or resilient individual. She just takes everything as it comes and does her best until she conquers it.
She is truly a wonderful example for those of us who are able bodied. She is proof that life is what you make of it. Lacey's grandma, Chris Merrifield, describes Lacey's determination and spirit, "To come in and see Lacey use her feet like someone would use their arms, is pretty amazing. She could pick up the smallest things off the floor like a little bead or like a little piece of lint. And her toes can stretch pretty far to pick things up."
Of course, life isn’t without its challenges. For example, balance becomes an issue when you don’t have any arms to stabilize you. For Lacey, this means that running, jumping or even walking become quite difficult feats. And falls can be particularly scary for her. This is why she has weekly visits with occupational and physical therapists to teach her how to fall safely and protect her head as much as possible. Another key focus is to strengthen her core muscles. With strong muscles and good balance reactions, Lacey can better prevent a fall from happening by correcting her body position. It's all about helping Lacey to develop the skills to negotiate the obstacles she faces in her everyday life.
But it’s not all work for Lacey; she recently started gymnastics and horseback riding.
These are two activities that are not only fun for Lacey, but also help to build her core strength and stability.
Lacey's amazing story of persistence and spirit has been captured here on video:
So, what does the future hold for Lacey? Well, the ultimate goal is for her to lead a normal life, and with the support of her family and loved ones, she’ll do just that. She is a great example for others to see that no matter what happens in life, pursue your dreams and never give up.