A life without limbs: Nick Vujicic uses his story to inspire students across globe

Rock Hill hosts speaker for live audience, streams message to other sites in honor of Unity Day


Mithra Cama

Motivational speaker Nick Vujicic walks across the Rock Hill High School stage as he delivers a speech Wednesday, Oct. 19. Vujicic shared his story in honor of Unity Day. “My whole mission is to let teenagers know that they’re beautiful,” s Vujicic said. “They don’t need to become someone they’re not.”

Under the bright fixed lights, speaker Nick Vujicic looks across the Rock Hill High School auditorium of students raising their hands with closed eyes.

“Put your hand in a fist if you have ever attempted suicide because of bullying in this school,” Vujicic said. “Of 900 (here), 90 of you have thought of committing suicide.”

Silence rings through the room and Vujicic instructs the students to put their hands down.

“The amount of people who have attempted suicide is 40,” Vujicic said. “About 15 had attempted suicide because of the brokenness at home, and actually, it was closer to 20 because of bullying in this school.”

Born with tetra-amelia syndrome, Vujicic has lived his entire life without limbs. Using his story to inspire students across the world, Vujicic has visited high schools, presidents, and television channels to spread bullying awareness and suicide prevention. To wrap up national bullying awareness month, Vujicic made an appearance at the district’s Rock Hill campus to bring awareness to students. A few Prosper High students attended and/or watched via a live internet stream.

“You just have no idea how many people are having thoughts of suicide, or depression, or anxiety,” Vujicic said. “And, what you do – what you say – at school matters.”

Nick Vujicic stares into the crowd of students as he speaks Oct. 19 at Rock Hill High School. Vujicic began motivational speaking at the age of 19, and to this day, he has spread his story to millions of people around the world. “I didn’t just wake up one day with 14 million social media fans,” Vujicic said. “I didn’t wake up and start meeting with presidents. I looked around my neighborhood and literally saw someone walking by who looked a little sad, and said ‘Hi, give me a hug’.”

Vujicic’s journey to become a motivational speaker started after hearing a presentation at his school when he was 13. But, his true inspiration came after seeing the impact he made on one student when he was a teenager.

“At age 17, I became a student leader,” Vujicic said. “I spoke, people cried and other people started inviting me to speak. I actually had a sophomore student hug me and say ‘thank you, no one’s ever told me that they love me, no one’s ever told me that I’m beautiful the way that I am’ and that’s when I knew, 77 countries later, 24 presidents behind doors, and been on television now to two billion people, and the biggest motivational speaker under age 40 in the world.”

Largely motivated by faith, Vujicic said that his reliance on God and Christianity has influenced and motivated him to share his story.

“My faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and (being) a Christian since age 15, has actually been the root and foundation of everything that has given me my purpose,” Vujicic said. “My joy, my attitude or gratitude, to believe that heaven is real helps me … to believe that my purpose can actually motivate people to not give up here but also make decisions for eternity.”

Seated in the Rock Hill High School broadcast studio, Nick Vujicic gives Prosper High School’s Eagle Nation News a one-on-one interview before he took the stage in the auditorium. “I spoke, and someone at my high school said ‘you need to become a speaker’,” Vujicic said. “I said I have nothing to say, I have no story. He said: ‘Yes, you do.’ And, so I spoke, people cried, and other people started inviting me to speak.”

Experiencing bullying throughout his life, Vujicic said he felt isolated, experiencing depression along with suicidal thoughts throughout his life.

“So many years I was very depressed,” Vujicic said. “Because, I convinced myself that I’d never get married, that I’d never have a family. I’d never have a job. I employ now 25 people. I have four companies and 14 million social media fans, and the impact of what you can do just for one person is where it all started.”

Suffering from bullying himself, Vujicic described his experience with suicidal thoughts, finding comfort in the love he received at home. He explained that 40 percent of suicide attempts happen because of bullying at school, and he was not an exception.

“I was one of that statistic,” Vujicic said. “And at age 10, I had premeditated my suicide for two years. I went into my bathtub, and I tried to drown myself, and there was only one thought that stopped me from going through with it. It was because I had a mom and dad that every day told me: ‘You’re beautiful. We love you.’ And, because of that love, I stayed. If you’ve never ever been told these words, I love you. I don’t know who you are. I couldn’t care less. I love you.”

RHHS freshmen who attended Vujicic’s speech in-person spoke about the impact of Vujicic’s story, and finding motivation in his journey.

Rock Hill freshmen Victoria Fu and Bella Strong – back left – listen to Nick Vujicic’s speech as he presents on stage. Vujicic’s speech, which took place on Wednesday, Oct. 19, focused on anti-bullying efforts for Unity Day. “Overcoming all of those challenges is as equal as any challenge we all go through,” senior Ana Yanez said. “Hearing his story can inspire any of us to overcome any daily life challenges.”

“I thought he really meant what he said,” freshman Tristan Daddio said. “I felt it in my heart. You know what I mean?”

Upperclassmen, who were able to virtually stream the speech from their classrooms, also gave their opinions on the importance of Vujicic’s speech.

“I thought it was very motivational,” said RHHS senior Ana Yanez. “I think it was something that the freshman definitely needed to hear, especially coming into their first year. Hearing his story can inspire any of us to overcome any life challenges.”

Vujicic continues to spread his message of love, helping students and saving lives across the globe. He said he wants every person to feel loved and cared for, regardless of appearance, experience, or status.

“My whole message and mission is to help teenagers, especially, know that they’re beautiful, Vujicic said. “You don’t need to become someone you’re not, to know that you have purpose. And, when you go through difficulties, don’t give up. Talk to someone, and help them to be thankful for what they have when you feel like you have less than everyone else.”

Editors note: If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, reach out to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8

Alongside Rock Hill High School principal Dustin Toth, Nick Vujicic prepares to speak to the audience of students and staff. “I’ve spoken in front of 300 schools in America where I’ve done an anonymous survey,” Vujicic said. “Where we’ve found out that 6 to 12 percent of all teenagers in America have thought of giving up.” Vujicic has spoken at hundreds of schools in order to help with the prevention of suicide and in order to inspire students to rise up against bullying


Click here to see Eagle Nation News cover the story of Nick Vujicic.

Click here for Nick Vujicic’s full speech at Rock Hill High School.

Photos by Mithra Cama

Captions by Kevin Madzima

Eagle Nation News reporters Parker Reynolds and Grace Esquibel report on Nick Vujicic and his story.