A boy’s dream of being able to cast his own fishing rod with his dad is set to come true after he was fitted with a £10,000 bionic ‘Iron Man’ arm paid for by a mystery donor.
Billy Gregson, nine, was born with an upper limb congenital deficiency, meaning his right arm is shorter than his left and has limited movement.
The youngster had hoped that his arm would grow back so he could “be like his friends” and he could go fishing with dad Mark, 54, without needing his help.
His mum Donna, 49, began researching potential solutions and came across leading prosthetics firm OpenBionics who could make a high-tech arm for him.
However due to the cost, she was forced fund raise but was blown away when an anonymous donor later gifted them £10,000 towards the life-changing arm.
After the amazing device was fitted recently, Donna said the happy lad was “over the moon” and that his confidence had “boomed”.
She said: “He wears it for school every day. His face when he received it was a picture.
“He was over the moon. He said it’s like Christmas. It was all he asked for.”
Billy, who lives with his family in Leeds, Yorks., has a congenital limb defect, which is when an arm or leg doesn’t form normally as a baby grows in the uterus.
The exact cause is unknown, and in Billy’s case, doctors didn’t recognise any issues with his arms until he was born.
Donna said she first came across the “hero arm”, made by Bristol-based company OpenBionics, when she began researching their ambassador Tilly Lockey.
The 16-year old double-amputee has used her two “hero arms” since she was eight, and won the sixth series of the CBBC show Got What It Takes?
Donna said: “I wondered if Billy could get one of the arms too, it would help him do so many different things.
“It means the world to him.”
The new bionic arm uses sensors within the casing to allow the recipient to respond to movements and is designed to have all of the same functions as a usual pair of arms.
Since his fitting, Donna said that Billy is now learning how to use his new arm to achieve his goals, which include fishing, one of his favourite hobbies.
Donna said: “Billy loves the arm.”
“He’s doing really well.”He’s quite taken to it a lot quicker than anyone thought he would.
“He’s learning to write with it as well as he’s right-handed.
Samantha Payne, MBE, COO at Open Bionics, said the company was “so happy to hear Billy is set to continue his Hero Arm journey”.
She added: “We’re grateful to the donor and we’re hopeful that NHS England will make the decision soon to give access to multi-grip bionic arms to arm amputees.
“They deserve access to this technology as it has a huge impact on their daily living and mental health.”