My son…the SUPERHERO: Community kindness bought by boy a bionic arm

boy with bionic superhero arm

by take-a-break |
Updated on

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A life-changing opportunity had come my son’s way, and our community was determined to make his dream come true…By Rebecca Poole, 32

My son's bionic arm

The doctor ran the scanner over my tummy and stared at the screen.

I was 18 weeks pregnant and couldn’t wait to become a mum.

But then the doctor turned to me and said: ‘Your baby has amniotic band syndrome.’

I began to panic.

‘What’s that?’ I asked.

He explained that it happened when fibrous bands of the amniotic sac get tangled around the developing foetus.

I was offered a termination.

But I refused.

‘It’s your baby’s arm that’s been affected,’ the doctor said.

But just then, the tiny figure on the screen raised its other arm and wriggled it around.

And I knew I’d made the right decision to carry on with the pregnancy.

Back home, my mind raced.

I thought: What will my baby look like? Will they get bullied?

My pregnancy progressed, and in time, I went on to give birth to a beautiful baby boy.

‘Is he real?’ I asked the midwife in amazement, as I cuddled my son.

I named him Jayden.

Despite having a little left arm, Jayden was healthy.

But as he grew, people on the street would stare.

One day, I overheard a child say Jayden had played with a knife and that’s how he’d ‘lost’ his arm.

'I picked up an apple'

But Jayden was a happy baby and that was all that mattered.

He skipped crawling and started walking at 11 months.

As a toddler, children would ask Jayden why he only had one arm.

He’d reply: ‘Because I was born this way.’

Then he’d carry on playing, and I felt so proud.

We were offered a prosthetic limb on the NHS. But it was like a mannequin’s arm, and Jayden needed something that moved.

Then, I saw a Facebook post about a team called Open Bionics, who made customised 3-D bionic arms.

I reached out to them and learnt more about the Hero Arm. It had special sensors to help the user control it by simply flexing their muscles.

Meanwhile, Jayden started nursery and made friends.

son's bionic arm

When they moved on to primary school, they stuck by his side and looked out for him.

But a few years later, my grandad Ken passed away.

He’d always been so proud and supportive of Jayden, and we felt heartbroken.

But the following year, I received an email that lifted our spirits.

Jayden had been invited to an open day in Bristol to find out more about the Hero Arm.

That weekend, Jayden and his sister Elissa-Mae were visiting their dad Richard in Birmingham, so he took them to the event.

Back home in Bude, Cornwall, Jayden buzzed with excitement.

‘I got to try one of the arms, Mum!’ he said. ‘I made it move, and it felt so real!’

Richard said they’d been told Jayden was eligible for one.

‘How much will it cost?’ I asked.

‘£13,000,’ he replied.

It was more than we could afford. But I knew we had to get Jayden his arm, whatever it took.

So, we set up a GoFundMe page and our local community rallied round.

We held everything from craft fairs, to charity tattoo days, to raise money.

my son's bionic arm

Local businesses got involved, as well as the local football team.

And a young lad named Cory arranged a race night and raised a whopping £1,508.

The support was overwhelming, and I couldn’t believe how quickly we raised the money.

Just six months later, we made our way to Bristol where Jayden, aged 10, had his first fitting.

Helder, one of the team, attached a bionic test arm to Jayden, and positioned the sensors.

He asked Jayden to practise moving it by picking up a ball.

‘Look, Mum!’ Jayden shouted, as he scooped it up.

I could feel myself tearing up.

The following month, we returned to collect Jayden’s customised arm.

Helder had it in a box on the table ready for him, and when he opened it, Jayden’s eyes shone with excitement.

Helder helped Jayden put it on.

‘How does it feel?’ I asked.

Jayden replied: ‘Mum, it’s awesome!’

It was Black Panther-themed and made him feel like the superhero.

Back home, everyone was thrilled, and wanted to see Jayden’s arm in action.

Days later, as we sat watching a film and eating snacks, Jayden whooped.

‘Look, Mum, I picked up an apple!’ he said, proudly taking a bite.

Now, Jayden’s new arm has given him the independence he’ll need for secondary school.

He’s the boy with the bionic arm, but he’s always been a superhero to me.

*To find out more, go to Facebook and search ‘Jaydens Hero Arm’.

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