Lee Hee-ah (born 9 July 1985) is a South Korean pianist with only two fingers on each hand. The thumb of her left hand does not have any bones. She does not have any limbs below the knee on each leg. Her father was injured in a war and took morphine for 10 years as he was paralysed below the waist. Her mother took motion-sickness pills to deal with carsickness without realizing she was pregnant. These factors may have contributed to Lee's birth defects.
When she was 7, her mother started her on the piano to train her hands, which at the time couldn’t even hold a pencil. "However, as time went by, the piano became my source of inspiration and my best friend," she recalls. She was said to have worked on one passage from Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu for five years.
In 1992, she won the First Prize at the South Korean National Student Music Contest, and has since won many more contests and has also played in many solo-concerts along with playing with many well-known artists. She was awarded by the then-President of South Korea, Kim Dae-jung, for Overcoming Physical Difficulty. She has also been recognized as one of the best students in Seoul by the South Korean Education Department. She currently attends The South Korean National College of Rehabilitation and Welfare.
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