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Jessica Eva Montoya

My name is Jessica Eva Montoya and I am thirty years old. I was born on May 20, 1983 to Manuel Anthony Montoya and Elizabeth Zulema Lopez (Manny and Liz.) At that time my parents never received an ultrasound/sonogram and had no idea their first daughter was about to rock their world by debuting at 7 lbs 7oz 20 inches long born with "Amniotic Band Syndrome."

The bands affect my right hand; ring and middle finger by causing amputation at the top knuckles and symbractaly (they are stuck together.) My left index finger is also shorter than the others and has an odd shaped nail as do my right ones. My left leg was nearly severed by a band and the constriction forced the doctors to do surgery to remove the band. My feet are both affected my right I only have two real toes and one ball shaped one, my left foot has two toes, my little ones on the end, stuck together. Overall, I had over nine surgeries, five hundred stitches, numerous doctor's appointments and a lifetime of teasing, insecurity and comparison.

I realized at an early age that my hands, my "deformity" will not and does not define me. My parents were very loving and encouraging by constantly praising me but not protecting me, instilling in me the belief that I can do anything I set my mind to regardless of my hands, my toes, my leg, my scars. I have two older brothers and one older sister who took the brunt of the teasing and served as a buffer when other kids got mean but that didn't stop the kids in school from calling me "retarded" and a slew of other names that I can't bear to remember. I know those things, those words helped shape the person I am today.

As a young child I remember throughout the years, a check-up every February in a city an hour away from home when I'd have to wake up before the hot-air balloons were filled or the sun was up. I remember my doctor, Dr. Omar, promising me that I'd go to prom and that I'd find a boy who would love me for who I am and not pay attention to my lack of toes or the fact that I can't wear satin gloves.

He was right. I have that now and my boyfriend of 6 years loves me for me despite my lack of toes. Throughout my whole life, I struggled with my appearance and hiding my hands and toes, I still do, and to be considered beautiful is still very uncomfortable for me. However, I realize that even though I have constant pain in my right hand and its aching/telling me to stop typing so fast, these scars I wear on the outside are mine to own and love.

Appearance isn't everything and throughout a hard life I've learned that my differences, not my disability, not my deformity, make me who I am today. I am a Domestic Violence Treatment Specialist with a battered family's shelter and support center where I have worked for the past two years. I have participated in a local dance group, Baile Espanol for fourteen years of my life and portrayed a Spanish Princess in 2008 for a local tradition celebrating peaceful cohabitation of Santa Fe, NM.

I currently volunteer for V-Day and a featured speaker for One Billion Rising in Santa Fe, NM on Valentine's Day 2013 as well as a guest speaker for SlutWalk in Albuquerque, NM in April of 2013.

Academically, I have my Bachelors degree in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice. I was selected as a Who's Who recipient of Junior Colleges in 2004 and was also recruited to participate in Walt-Disney World's College Program in 2004 where I was privileged to hand sew the names of resort guests on Mickey Mouse ears in the Magic Kingdom.

I am the sole founder of Magic Manos, a group dedicated to assisting families in New Mexico with the travel costs to and from Carrie Tingley, a hospital dedicated to helping families and children with special needs. I wish to further my dream of sharing my experience to assist young people with self-esteem and body image issues as I have the experience as a child living with Amniotic Band Syndrome and now as an adult I am learning to teach the rest of the world about acceptance, love and understanding, this is my blessing.

To communicate with Jessica, you may contact her at email.

If you want to be a SuperHands Kid or Hero, or know any inspiring stories that would be a benefit to this site's viewers, please send me an email. Thank You!

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