Nicholas James “Nick” Vujicic (born 4 December 1982) is a Serbian Australian evangelist and motivational speaker born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally as well as physically, but eventually came to terms with his disability and, at the age of seventeen, started his own non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs. Vujicic presents motivational speeches worldwide, on life with a disability, hope and finding meaning in life. He also speaks about his belief that God can use any willing heart to do his work and that God is big enough to overcome any and all disabilities.
Background and personal life
Nick Vujicic was born to Dushka (Душка) and Boris Vujicic (Борис Вујичић) in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia. Although he was an otherwise healthy baby, Nick was born without arms and legs; he had no legs, but two small feet, one of which had two toes. Nick has two siblings, Michelle and Aaron.
Initially, a Victoria state law prevented Nick from attending a mainstream school due to his physical disability in spite of a lack of mental impairment. However, Vujicic became one of the first physically disabled students integrated into a mainstream school once those laws changed. However, his lack of limbs made him a target for school bullies, and he fell into a severe depression. At age eight, he contemplated suicide and even tried to drown himself in his bathtub at age ten; his love for his parents prevented him from following through. He also stated in his music video “Something More” that God had a plan for his life and he could not bring himself to drown because of this.
Nick prayed very hard that God would give him arms and legs, and initially told God that, if his prayer remained unanswered, Nick would not praise him indefinitely. However, a key turning point in his faith came when his mother showed him a newspaper article about a man dealing with a severe disability. Vujicic realized he wasn’t unique in his struggles and began to embrace his lack of limbs. After this, Nick realized his accomplishments could inspire others and became grateful for his life.
Nick gradually figured out how to live a full life without limbs, adapting many of the daily skills limbed people accomplish without thinking. Nick writes with two toes on his left foot and a special grip that slid onto his big toe. He knows how to use a computer and can type up to 45 words per minute using the “heel and toe” method. He has also learned to throw tennis balls, play drum pedals, get a glass of water, comb his hair, brush his teeth, answer the phone and shave, in addition to participating in golf, swimming, and even sky-diving.
During secondary school, he was elected captain of MacGregor State in Queensland and worked with the student council on fundraising events for local charities and disability campaigns. When he was seventeen, he started to give talks at his prayer group, and later founded his non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs.
Vujicic wrote that he keeps a pair of shoes in his closet due to his belief in miracles.
In 2005 Vujicic was nominated for the Young Australian of the Year Award.
Vujicic currently lives in Los Angeles, California, United States. On 12 February 2012, he married his fiancée, Kanae Miyahara, and on 13 February 2013, their son Kiyoshi James Vujicic was born weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces.
According to Vujicic, had he been born in a third world country, his condition would have been considered a curse or a shame by his parents and he would have been killed at his birth.
Vujicic speaking during the session “Inspired for a Lifetime” at the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forumin Davos, Switzerland, on 30 January 2011
Vujicic graduated from Griffith University at the age of 21 with a double major in accountancy and financial planning. Subsequently he became a motivational speaker, travelling internationally and focusing on teen issues. Having addressed over three million people in over 24 countries on five continents, he speaks to corporate audiences, congregations, and schools.
Vujicic promotes his work through television shows and through his writing. His first book, Life Without Limbs: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life (Random House, 2010) was published in 2010. He markets a motivational DVD, Life’s Greater Purpose, a short documentary filmed in 2005 highlighting his home life and regular activities. The second part of the DVD was filmed at his local church in Brisbane – one of his first professional motivational speeches. He markets a DVD for young people titled: No Arms, No Legs, No Worries: Youth Version.
In March 2008, he was interviewed by Bob Cummings for 20/20.
He starred in the short film The Butterfly Circus, which won the Doorpost Film Project’s top prize of 2009 and the Best Short Film award at the Method Fest Film Festival, where Vujicic was also awarded Best Actor in a short film. Butterfly Circus also won the best short film award at The Feel Good Film Festival in Hollywood in 2010.