In 2004, a Japanese nursing student named Manami Ito (who was about 19-years-old) got into a traffic accident. Though she survived, she lost her right arm – an unexpected loss that would change anyone’s life. The crash even forced her to put her dreams on the backburner.
On the day that she went to pick up her prosthetic arm, Ito saw people at the facility with disabilities that were similar and even worse than her own playing sports such as basketball. And that was all the motivation she needed to get right back on the road to pursuing her dreams. 
However, 14 years later, she didn’t just go back to school to become a nurse (of which she was the first in Japan to do so with a prosthetic limb). Ito also competed at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics representing Japan in the 100-meter breaststroke! (She came in 4th and 8th place, respectively.) 
Perhaps Ito’s most incredible feat of all is her musicianship, which has allowed her to travel and perform internationally. In October 2016, Ito first used her customized prosthetic bow which she described as light and cool.  Surprisingly, it allows her to play with amazing precision (as you will see in the video below).
On September 2, 2018, 33-year-old Ito gave a violin performance of Miyuki Nakajima’s Thread at the Takarazuka City General Welfare Center in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Someone named Kazushige Masuda captured the amazing clip which was uploaded to Youmanity Official’s YouTube page with the title “be inspired” as part of their THIS-ABILITY Photography Contest. 
“In a nutshell, Youmanity is a charity promoting the importance of social inclusion and equality. We do this through a number of projects, most notably an annual photography award, specifically designed to raise awareness of pressing social issues. Focusing on disability, this year’s award aims to challenge stereotypes surrounding disabled persons. This-Ability Photography Award is currently inviting photographers, amateurs and professional, to submit photo entries of Disabled persons that can tell their stories – be their voice.” – Angelo Iudice, Youmanity Chairman
Although people with disabilities face unique everyday challenges, Manami Ito and countless others are living proof that they are still capable of whatever they put their minds to. However, we’re a long way from where we need to be when it comes to inclusivity and accessibility. That’s why we’re thankful for organizations like Youmanity and others like it for the awareness they continue to raise for people with different backgrounds.
For more information about Youmanity’s THIS-ABILITY Photography Contest, visit this link!
 S., S., & Tribe, Y. (2018, September 19). One-Armed Violinist Performs Beautiful Solo With Custom-Built Prosthetic Bow Arm. Retrieved from https://mymodernmet.com/manami-ito-prosthetic-violin-bow/
 Sierzputowski, K. (2018, September 12). Manami Ito Performs a Violin Solo With a Customized Prosthetic Bow Arm. Retrieved from https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/09/manami-ito-performs-with-customized-prosthetic-bow-arm/
 伊藤真波. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=800241060115875&set=pb.100003899644395.-2207520000.1537347762.&type=3&theater
 This Woman Playing Violin is the Most Inspiring Thing You’ll See Today. (2018, September 08). Retrieved from https://twistedsifter.com/videos/one-arm-violin-performance-by-manami-ito/