Surrey teen goes online to raise cash for a new hand

SURREY — By Drew Daniel’s estimate, it will be either a decade or next week before his dream of having a second functioning hand will finally become reality.

It will come down to the success of an online crowdsourcing effort the 18-year-old Surrey resident recently launched to help him buy a bebionic 3, a prosthetic hand that he says would change his life and ultimately that of people across B.C.

“It can do almost everything a normal hand can,” said Daniel, who was born without a left hand and has used various prosthetics since he was a child.

The prosthetic hand Daniel now uses can make a pinching action, something he said works OK for things like video games, bike riding, and tying shoes, but it has limitations. It freezes intermittently, for example, and it isn’t easy to use for driving or even gripping and carrying some objects.

Daniel launched his crowdsourcing effort to raise money to afford a bebionic 3, which can make 16 different movements rather than the one his current hand makes. It’s also more durable, it flexes, and the wrist rotates by itself.

It can also help others, he said.

Daniel has received money for prosthetics from the War Amps in the past, but he said the bebionic 3 is still too expensive to be eligible for funding, something he hopes would change as people in the province started to adopt the technology. There is precedent for such a thing, he said, noting that myoelectric hands like the one he has now were expensive at first then dropped in price as people started buying them.

“Its been out for a few years, but there always has to be a first person that does it,” he said.

The bebionic 3 costs about $28,000 including a new socket, a huge expense for Daniel who makes a living working at a car wash in Maple Ridge and hand making silver jewelry.

One of the first things Daniel would like to do with his new hand is hit the gym. He said he’d like to tone and even-out his physique, something he can’t do with his current prosthetic.

“I have one strong arm and then a weak one,” he said.

It’s just one of the physical limitations Daniel has become accustomed to, but could live free from with a new hand.

Daniel’s crowdsourcing campaign, at https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/0ooO0, ends Sept. 10.

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