A little superhero fanboy who was born with one hand missing is hoping to get £13k from kind donors so he can have a high-tech bionic arm – just like Iron Man.
Seven-year-old Jacob Hyatt was born with his left hand missing and had the opportunity to trial a bionic arm earlier this year.
He quickly became desperate to get one of his own and mum Bernice Hyatt, 33, is hoping donations from the public will be enough to get her son one.
The state-of-the-art ‘superhero arm’ designed by Open Bionics costs £13,000.
With almost half of the funds needed already raised, Jacob’s family are hoping that they’ll be able to get the arm before Christmas as the “best present ever”.
Florist Bernice, from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, said: “I have always taught Jacob you don’t have to fit in, and that it’s good to be unique and he should be confident.
“But there are things he struggles with, so the second he tried on the bionic arm, he was desperate to get one.
“He got the hang of it straight away and was saying ‘mum, look what I can do!’ – and I almost burst into tears.
“Since then, we knew we had to try everything possible to get one for him – he doesn’t need or want sympathy but it would just make his life that bit easier.
“If he did get one, I can imagine his excitement would be uncontrollable – he’d be over the moon and immediately want to do everything he couldn’t do before, all at once.
“We can’t believe how generous and supportive people have been so far and he is so excited at the thought of becoming a superhero!”
Bernice, also mum to three-month-old Blake, first learned her eldest son Jacob’s hand was missing at her 20-week pregnancy scan.
She recalled being told that his arm had just randomly stopped developing early in the pregnancy – and Bernice vowed to ensure Jacob grew up feeling confident, strong and unique.
The mum-of-two found ways around things to make Jacob as independent as possible – such as buying clothes with zips not buttons, and shoes with Velcro rather than laces.
But Bernice said as he grew up, she found her son becoming more aware of things he struggled to do – after first asking why he only had one hand when he was just four years old.
She said: “He never gets down about his situation, but sometimes he can get frustrated when he can’t do something on his own.”
After spotting a post on Facebook about a bionic arm trial happening earlier this year, she put Jacob’s name forward and he was selected to take part.
In August this year, he attended the trial run by Open Bionics for their new bionic ‘hero arm’ – and came away desperate for one of his own after getting the hang of it instantly.
Bernice said: “They put sensors on the arm muscles that would control his lower arm, and as soon as they explained how to move the arm, Jacob got it moving straight away.
“I nearly cried when he began picking up and dropping tennis balls and doing the ‘OK’ hand sign – his eyes completely lit up.
“I remember him saying ‘mum, look what I can do!’ and I knew we had to get one for him.”
The high-tech bionic arm comes with a protective shell decorated to match Jacob’s favourite superhero – Iron Man – which made the schoolboy long even more for one of his own.
The little lad has not stopped talking about how one day he could ride a bike and climb on monkey bars in the park like his friends – to prove that he won’t let his disability hold him back.
But after learning the bionic arm cost a whopping £13,000, and couldn’t be paid in installments, Jacob’s family launched a fundraiser in the hope that kind friends, family and strangers could help to make his superhero dreams come true.
Since launching the fundraiser shortly after the trial in August, the gobsmacked family have seen more than £6,000 worth of donations – almost half of what they need.
They are now crossing their fingers that Jacob can get the funds in time for Christmas – which would be “his best present ever” according to Bernice.
Bernice, who lives with partner Jamie Buchanan, 44, and his two children, said: “The response so far has been amazing – I can’t believe how much money has already been raised.
“I was a bit anxious setting up the fundraising page but after seeing how happy that arm made Jacob, I have to try everything to make that happen.
“If he does get the arm, his happiness would be uncontrollable – I can already imagine him gritting his teeth and shaking with excitement – he would be over the moon.
“He’d be thinking of all the things he could do – opening a car door, unscrewing a water bottle lid, playing on monkey bars at the park.
“He doesn’t want sympathy – he just wants to make his life a little bit smoother.
“This has also highlighted that disability is normal and a part of real life – it’s ok to be unique and Jacob is proof of that.”