Anna Jarmics : National Darts Champion,Artist And Teacher With No Hands

Anna Jarmics may have no hands but that hasn’t kept her from being a national darts champion.

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The 80-year-old Calgary resident who  has a six-tournament unbeaten record, is also an award-winning artist, whose water colours have been winning ribbons for decades. And all without any hands! 

“She has a style that is unique and distinctive, combining a deep appreciation for nature along with architectural evidence of humanity – from barns to castles – and yet rarely if ever depicting the people who might be associated with such structures themselves. Without being gloomy, her paintings manage to create a rather disquieting feeling, at times hauntingly lonely, and yet tranquil.” Eugene Stickland said about Anna Jarmics’ art work.

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One of Anna Jarmics’ artwork

Anna Jarmics  lost her hands when she was 10 years old, while trying to save her younger siblings from a grenade. It happened in 1945, as the Soviet army invaded her native Hungary, one of the soldiers lobbed a grenade that landed amongst her siblings while they played in a yard.

“We were playing in the sand and they threw a hand grenade in between us. I was the oldest one, so I grabbed it and tried to run but I tripped on the side of the walk,” she says candidly. “I went right down and it exploded in my hands.”Anna said.

But a life of struggle was only beginning for Anna Jarmics who eventually moved to Toronto.

Shortly after arriving in Canada, Jarmics found herself as a single mother of four after her husband, fighting demons of his own, raided their bank account and left his family.

It was 1968 and she struggled to find someone who would hire her. When Jarmics went for an interview for a cleaning job in a hospital, everyone was sure she could not do the job. She told the interviewers “Let me work two weeks, I said. If you’re not satisfied, if I can’t do your job, what you wanted, I said, I leave without pay. I worked there for five and a half years.”

When her children grew up, three of them moved to Calgary. Jarmics joined them there and is now also a water colour artist, her work often being used on greeting cards.

Jarmics started playing darts, and is now a double medalist at the Alberta 55-Plus Winter Games.

Also at the YWCA, Jarmics is an inspiration to her students who area learning English as a Second Language.”When she comes into our classroom, the class shines,” says Silvana Saccomani of the Calgary YWCA.

Jarmics says she’s never made excuses, never mourned the loss of her hands and doesn’t seek pity for a tough life lived. “I never worried about, ‘I haven’t got hands’.. A lot of people turn around and say, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do that.’ and I always turn around and say, ‘there’s no such a thing.'”

She is an inspiration for the way she took a devastating loss and turned it into gain.

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