Phoenix woman with disability inspires with spirit

A valley woman has achieved many goals in her life despite her disabilities.

PHOENIX - In the state of Arizona, at the age of 15 years and six months, you are allowed to get your driving permit after passing physical and written tests. At 16, the license becomes valid and many of us go out to the streets and drive as many miles as we can on our parents car, van or truck. 

For Josette Ulibarri, that was not the case, in fact that's never been the case, ever.

Ulibarri was born in New Mexico with a rare condition called Tetraphocomelia or Roberts Syndrome, which significantly limits her use of her arms and legs.

"For as long as I can remember my mother would not treat me different. She wouldn't help me, unless I tried," Ulibarri said. "I have brothers -- they were rough with me and always treated me the same. They toughened me up."

Ulibarri, a devoted Christian, one day began to pursue getting her drivers' license. It was a grueling process, because of her situation.

"Many people, are so quick to judge a book by its cover, and I've dealt with it all my life, but I have always kept going," she says.

Part of the process was creating a custom vehicle for her, and once that was done with she moved on with the process.

Ulibarri researched and found out that through different parties, she could start studying the rules and laws, and take her necessary tests.

She passed with flying colors only to be handed a permit, not once but a handful of times.

"I kept calling and calling, and they would tell me it's in the system, and one day when I called, the operator thought they had hung up the phone, but i heard them all laughing at me and talking bad about me," she said. "I called back and they finally -- after reaching out to them so many times -- they issued my license". 

With a tablet, a joystick and her toes, Ulibarri steers, brakes and accelerates her customized vehicle and now drives everywhere.

Recently she drove to Los Angeles for a book signing in which she was featured as a showcase of women of all shapes and sizes.

"I read the author's message about photographing all types of women, and told her, 'It's not all types unless you can showcase the disabled,'" Ulibarri said.

"In this home, we don't use the words 'I can't,'" Ulibarri said. "That's a bad word here. I can do all things with God." 

Ulibarri has a job, she is a mother, cook, swimmer, and a model along with many other hats that she wears, and she's a life coach who now has her driver's license to inspire those who are told they can't do what they dream. 

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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