By Danny Baggott @dan_baggie
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Videographer / director: Istvan Lettang
Producer: Danny Baggott, Ruby Coote
Editor: Beth Angus
Ryan Hudson-Peralta was born with Congenital Limb Deficiency, a rare condition that gave him severely shortened legs and arms without hands.
The now 3ft 6”, 40-year-old describes himself as a loving father, husband, motivational speaker and positive mentor to others – and he has definitely been living up to his word.
Ryan still manages to drive a car by himself, make his way up and down the stairs, use his mobile phone AND conduct his full time job of being a successful user-interface designer at Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, MI.
Residing in Michigan, Ryan even takes it upon himself to visit and help other families across the States who have children living with similar conditions.
Ryan told Barcroft TV: “Putting a smile on someone’s face, I can’t even explain the feeling. It’s amazing.
“Every day in our life we’re going to face some challenges – we’re going to build them up and we’re going to knock them down.
“One of my main goals is that I want to share my story with families that have children born like me.”
Ryan’s parents were made aware of their son’s condition immediately after he was born.
Ryan said: “When I was first born, the doctors took me away from my parents.
“My mom asked them, ‘Where’s my son at?’, and they said, ‘There has been a problem – your son was born with no arms or legs and before we bring him in, we want you to know it’s okay if you don’t want to keep him’.
“And my mom said, ‘That’s my son, bring me my son now’.
“They said that ‘Ryan would never have a regular job, or go to school, or drive a car, never be able to have a family’.
“So when somebody tells you, you can’t do something – that’s just the fire, the fuel to make sure I can.”
In addition to Ryan’s upbeat and positive outlook on life, he has always been surrounded by a strong support system.
“I met my wife when I was 20 years old,” he said.
“She’s been my biggest fan. The biggest and best support I could ever have.
“And then, my kids, they are my life. Everything I do, I do for them.”
Carrie, Ryan’s wife, added: “When I first met Ryan, I didn’t see him as being different.
“We just connected. We hit it off right away and that was it.”
Due to Ryan’s physical appearance, he admits that certain members of the public can’t help but ask him questions when out and about.
He said: “The kind of questions I get always range from like, ‘How do you drive?’, ‘How do you eat?’, ‘How do you have children?’ – any question you can think of.
“Everyone’s like, ‘Doesn’t that bother you?’ – the hardest thing about living with no arms and legs, is that people see me without arms and legs.
“I don’t want you to look at me as someone with no arms and legs, I want you to look at me as ‘my friend’ or ‘my colleague’.”
And Ryan is now actively helping other families across the States who have children living with similar conditions to him – to help them deal with people staring and how to make the best of their situation.
He said: “A few years ago, I was at work and someone ran up to me and said, ‘Hey, my cousin’s wife is having a baby and she’s going to be born without arms – would you mind meeting with her?’
“And I said of course! I would love to.
“When I was younger, I didn’t know anyone like me.
“So I just love that I’m able to meet kids that are born like me and maybe teach them a few things.”
Valerie Canter’s daughter, Gabriella, was born without arms – and Ryan has recently been visiting their family home.
Valerie said: “We found out about Ryan when I was pregnant.
“We were so excited to meet him because there was so much unknown.
“Gabriella just turned two in August and she was born with no arms and shortened legs.
“Ryan is just an invaluable person to us. It was such a comfort to meet someone who is never letting anything stop him.”
And Ryan is now looking forward to the future, continuing to spread his positive energy and raise awareness to others.
“There’s a saying, failure is not an option – my saying is failure is a must,” he said.
“You can’t learn anything in life unless you fail at it and you try and try again.
“When I sit back and think about all the adversity I’ve faced and everything I’ve ever had to deal with, I’m definitely proud of myself.”
To keep up to date with Ryan’s story, you can visit his website at LookMomNoHands.com.