For Surrey teen Drew Daniel, having a fully functioning left arm has always been a dream.
Born without a left hand, Daniel, now 18, has used multiple prosthetic arms since he was five years old, however the technology made performing simple tasks extremely cumbersome.
In fact, throughout elementary and high school, Daniel chose to wear no prosthetic but now that he’s an adult, he sees the benefits of having two strong arms.
Recently a friend told him about a new high-tech prosthetic and after some online research, Daniel knew it had the potential to change his life.
The bebionic3 (left) is a state-of-the-art aluminum and carbon fibre prosthetic arm and has the potential to give Daniel the hand strength and dexterity he’s been looking for.
“The wrist rotates 360 degrees and each individual finger moves” says Daniel. “Basically you can program it to do whatever you want. It has 65 pounds of strength in the grip and it’s strong enough to crush a can.”
However, with that increased functionality comes a hefty price tag: $21,000 for the arm, along with $7,000 for the form-fitted custom made socket brings the total to $28,000 – a cost difficult to fund working as a car wash attendant in Maple Ridge.
So Daniel launched a crowdfunding effort online to help raise the funds necessary to purchase the high-tech appendage.
“There are so many things I would like to do,” he says. “Even riding a bike, getting dressed or tying my shoes can be tough.
“I’ve even put off taking my driving test because I don’t want to be denied or given special restrictions because of my arm.”
Also, having one dominant arm has left his upper body strength disproportionate to his right side. “I’ve never been able to work out or lift weights and I’ve always wanted to do that,” says Daniel. “I have one strong arm and one weak arm and that can affect your shoulders and even your posture. My current (prosthetic) arm can grab heavy objects but it tends to let go at random times and that can be a problem.”
Gripping the prosthetic’s thumb and bending it back almost to his wrist, Daniel demonstrates how the hand is unable to open fully without additional help.
“My current myo-electric prosthetic arm was funded by The War Amps, but after nearly two years the arm is showing signs of wear,” he says.
The glove – the rubber skin-like material covering the mechanical arm – has a replacement cost of $2,000, funds Daniel feels would be better spent on more up-to-date technology.
For more information on how you can help Daniel raise the funds he needs, check out 4good.surreyleader.com