A five-year-old boy can finally give his little brother a hug after being the first child in the UK to have a functioning prosthetic arm fixed ABOVE the elbow.
Awesome Jacob Scrimshaw is now sporting a powered green Hulk robotic arm which means he can snuggle up with his sibling, Sebastian, three.
The brave youngster was born prematurely and a scan at 20 weeks had revealed part of his left arm was missing.
Mum-of-three Gemma Turner vowed to get him a prosthetic arm after he recently came home from school crying, saying he was fed up having to struggle with just one.
Amazingly, he got his new green superhero arm on Thursday (12 Dec) and has been wearing it ever since.
But the journey wasn’t so easy for Jacob, as prosthetics for children are normally created below the elbow.
It’s harder to get the false limb to stay attached to the upper arm and an elbow joint has to be created.
Doubled with the fact robotic prosthetics are generally not available for kids on the NHS, mum and dad, Gemma and Chris Scrimshaw, both 36, knew they would have a fight on their hands to answer his dreams.
Police officer Gemma said: “I always thought Jacob coped well without his arm and got on with things, but when he came home from school in tears I knew we had to do something.
“We started raising money on Go Fund Me in February this year. I knew what we wanted would cost an awful lot of money. We thought we would have to go to America.”
The family, from Calderdale, West Yorks., had raised £16,000 by September and started to look online at how to make it happen.
Amazingly, Gemma stumbled across a man called Ben Ryan, from Menai Bridge in Anglesey, Wales, on Instagram.
Mr Ryan made his mark on the prosthetic world after going from psychology teacher to engineer.
He created an arm for his own child following an accident at birth which meant his son lost his arm at ten days old.
The innovator believed it was best that his son called Sol began using a prosthetic as soon as possible.
Sol, now four, has been wearing his own prosthetic since he was five weeks old and even learned to crawl wearing it.
Mr Ryan is now CEO of his own company Ambionics, and Director of Glaze Prosthetics UK.
Jacob is one of their first patients.
Mr Ryan said: “The reason why Jacob is the first child to have a powered arm is not necessarily because the technology wasn’t there, but rather that parents do not know it is something that is possible.
“Jacob’s family is unusual in this case in that when they were told they had to wait for a prosthetic or were told that it would not work for him they refused to give in and kept looking for answers – I was the same.
“They kept going and luckily they found me.”
The company has worked together with prosthetic service provider Dorset Orthopaedics to create Jacob’s fab new arm in just 12 weeks.
His arm remains a work in progress and the companies and the family will continue to work together to develop and improve it over time.
So far the elbow can be set using a sliding lock, and the hand closes when Jacob squeezes a water-filled rubber chamber that is mounted to the upper arm.
Jacob has been able to play with his brother and push his little sister, Nell, six months, in her pushchair.
Gemma said: “Jacob loves his arm. He is still getting used to it but it is great, we are thinking it will be fab at Christmas when he’ll be able to open his presents with two hands.”
The devoted mum said it “melted her heart” to see Jacob holding hands with his brother and his dad at the same time, which he has never been able to do before.
Gemma added: “We always wanted more as Jacob didn’t want a non-functioning arm just to look like everybody else, he’s not bothered about that.
“He wanted an arm that he could use and do things with.”
Mr Ryan said: “Ambionics capitalises on multi-jet fusion 3D Printing technology to create advanced prosthetic limbs.
“Our super lightweight and highly durable arms enable infants to adapt to prosthetics earlier in their neural development than ever before.
“Jacob has smashed all expectations, already he is wanting to wear his prosthetic more than we could have hoped for. It is great that he is getting used to it.”
While raising funds to get Jacob a functioning prosthetic, one anonymous donor gave them £5,000 – saying she was terminally ill and unable to complete her own bucket list.
The family are still raising money as they needs funds to make future improvements.
To donate to this worthy cause, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/jacob-scrimshaw