FREDERICK, Md. — A 10-year-old girl who was born without hands has proven that she can complete tasks as well as anyone else — if not better.
With a neatly written cursive sample, Sara Hinesley earned the Nicholas Maxim Award in the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.
The award is given to a student with a cognitive delay, or an intellectual, physical or developmental disability. The judges were occupational therapists.
Sara holds a pencil between the ends of her arms to write. The third grader at St. John’s Regional Catholic School in Frederick said when her teacher first taught her how to write in cursive, she found she had a natural talent for it.
“I thought it was easy, and I practiced at school,” Sara said.
Although she hasn’t yet decided what she’ll do with the $500 prize, she hopes other children with disabilities will be inspired by her story.
“I felt proud and hope others who have challenges learn from me, that if you try your hardest you can do it,” Sara said.
Her mom, Cathryn Hinesley, said she was delighted when Sara won the award.
“Sara’s a very independent girl,” Hinesley said. “She is very strategic in her thinking and she just figures out a way to complete every task.”
Besides writing, Sara likes to create art, ride her bike, read and swim.
The family briefly looked into getting prosthetic hands for her but ultimately decided Sara is doing fine without them.
“She is so amazing and functional without prosthetics that really there is not a need,” Sara’s mom said. “She can do just about anything — often times better than me or my husband.”