Sometimes you know you need help. You know what your skill set is and, more importantly sometimes, what it isn’t. I have never been able to draw or paint – it’s one of the main reasons I took up photography.
The LimbBofoundation has come a long way in a short space of time and we have many projects ongoing. The book for children was an idea that we needed help to achieve. I’ve written the story and I have friends helping me to shape it. We put out an appeal for an artist to help us. Amie from Darton asked the question ‘why don’t you get pupils to illustrate it?’ Never one to miss out on an opportunity (and we love a good project!) I went into Darton College to ask for help.
I was encouraged that the pupils all said yes of course we will help but had no idea what I would get. I left them with lots of photographs and the story outline.
I walked into Darton College today and burst into tears! Look what greeted me.
Look how amazing and how thoughtful. A whole range of skills, ideas, understanding and a sea of smiling faces. These pupils are year 10! What can I say? Education is about educating the whole child – not a cliche in this case, these pupils have empathised and offered their skills.
I’m not sure yet how or where we will get this book edited – but I do know that we WILL.
(any offers of help gratefully received!)
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, often people will help willingly but don’t know what you need. Thank You Year 10 x
What a week! Those of you who know me or follow this blog will be familiar with my grandchildren Tommy and LJ. These two are ordinary, loving, often mischievous children who bring joy to so many.
As you can see, Tommy has a limb difference and is ‘differently abled’. It was a shock when we found this out at Katie’s 12 week scan – my son and daughter – in – law are amazing – here is Adam’s account of that time. I’ve added a few photos and links but the words are my son’s.
During early pregnancy myself and my wife were given the devastating news that a complication had occurred and our baby was going to born missing a limb.
I’ll never forget the day we were sat having a normal baby scan, looking forward to seeing our beautiful baby again. The lovely chatty nurse paused and went quiet. I instinctively just thought she was just concentrating trying to find a better angle or whatever. The silence continued and she began to look concerned. She said quietly “I’ll just be a minute, I have to go got a colleague”. My heart sank, I tried to reassure my panicking wife that everything was ok…I knew it wasn’t. Another more senior looking nurse came in, she looked concerned, they talked quietly and the she left. The nurse turned to us and nervously said “I’m very sorry something is wrong with your baby.
That moment I’ve never felt pain quite like it, I didn’t know what to think, they explained that our baby we had tried for so long to have was going to be born disabled and missing a limb and could have potentially more problems.
Still crying and shook up we were ushered into a cramped little room, walking past the waiting room full of expectant parents who didn’t know where to look….i just wanted to run away.
We were given a basic black and white pamphlet of a generic limb difference which to be honest didn’t help one bit, it was dry and clinical. We were also given the option/possibility of abortion.
We left feeling numb and confused.
Well the rest is history, we went along with the pregnancy, and we are blessed with incredible courageous son, Tommy.
We were helped by other fantastic charities and people such as the NEVER SAY NEVER FOUNDATION who helped Tommy attend a limb difference pirate camp, the work those guys do is simply unbelievable
and Greg & Tori Lynch who built Tommy’s first ‘Buzz Arm’ and introduced me to prosthetics.
We’d also like to thank to Lucky Fin Project for all of their amazing work in promoting positive images of limb different children.
We have thought tirelessly of a way as parents we can help not only limb difference children but also parents and expected parents so along came the idea of the limbBo Foundation.
I invested in a budget 3D printer initially and then a more advance one and tirelessly taught myself how to use it.
I was able to create a prosthetic with the help of The amazing TEAM UNLIMBITED, I was incredibly proud, was my first step at helping him adapt.
The first step will be to design and create heartfelt, considerate, informative, non judgmental, useful leaflets plastered with photos of superb kids like Tommy and how they’ve overcome adversity, made friends and living a happy life….that’s what we needed, a hug and it’s going to be ok, not medical journal. We will aim to get a professional product that can be mass printed and positioned in hospitals throughout the UK.
Going forward we want to bring limb difference kids together in this country, have regular meet-ups, adventure days, and trips away. This will also give parents a chance to share their stories and adversity’s together.
Finally we hope to research, design and create new electronic aids and prosthetics to help limb difference kids do tasks that are at the moment not possible for children missing upper limbs (using a knife and fork simultaneously for example) and make day to day life just a little bit easier.
The charity is still in the creation stage and with the help of friends we hope to fully register with the charity commission by the end of the year as soon as we have completed their criteria.
Yesterday BBC Look North and Radio Leeds came to interview us and film Tommy – two incredibly patient and kind ‘Misters’ as Tommy called them.
There is so much happening at the moment it’s a roller coaster – website (still under construction), facebook page Just Giving page Discussions about writing a children’s book – illustrated by a local school, so many things we want to do. I hope you can follow our journey and please get in touch if you can help in any way or more importantly if we can help you.
There is a link here to the BBC article and here for the video clip
The lack of left handed cameras is frustrating, as is the lack of understanding on the part of major manufacturers. However, we are undeterred and yesterday saw a breakthrough for us.
We were in a cafe when Tommy put his camera onto the table and looked at the live view screen, he shook his head and said ‘can’t see you mama’ He was actually trying to line up his shot! I am so incredibly proud of him. He usually balances the camera on his little arm and presses the shutter with his left.
Later on I put my own camera away and realised I was thinking about tripods in the wrong way – he doesn’t need a proper size one just a miniature one. I had a very small gorrilla pod and attached it to his camera – we then laid on the floor – RESULT – look at this photo of LJ – Now look closely in the bottom right hand corner – total fluke but you can see myself and Tommy in the reflection in the cooker. Its not an ideal solution but it’s one we are going to continue to experiment with.
April is limb difference awareness month and combined with this photo of Tommy from yesterday I’ve been spurred to write. Tommy is a mischievous, bubbly two year old who meets life head on. He bursts into our kitchen with the door rattling on its hinges and announces gleefully ‘I’m back’. He is a confident and happy child for whom life is an adventure. Yesterday I took hundreds of photos of him and his sister LJ as they played in the garden. Although there are loads of images of Tommy this one really struck me. Not because of any technical quality in the photo but because it shows a child who is happy in his own skin. He’s content, he’s holding his bucket with his little arm, life is just what he makes it. It’s not a struggle it’s just the way he does things.
The quote below is from the inspirational Molly Stapleton founder of the Lucky Fin Project Lucky Fin Project
A child being born with a limb difference is not tragic. It’s extremely important to show our children how capable & wonderfully made they are. If we treat them as flawed or limited that is who they will believe themselves to be- and that would be the tragedy.
I’m so proud of my son and daughter-in- law for the way in which they have always supported Tommy. He’s never mollycoddled he’s just loved. Each week brings a new challenge, toilet training is different as Tommy has to learn to leave time for him to take his trousers off, planting seeds is fun but he wants to wear grandma’s gardening gloves, riding his bike means leaning forward to hold the handle bar, spreading butter on his toast is a bit hit and miss at the minute but it’s all a learning curve.
His little sister copies him, they are inseparable and he is alternately her protector and tormentor – it’s ok she’s a feisty little thing!
This post is meant as a celebration for all those who have limb differences and for their families who give them the self belief they need. The photo below is from a Lucky fin meet up last year – these three are a force to be reckoned with 🙂 #luckyfinsrock