Girl, 17, who ‘never fitted in’ needs bionic arm to get her dream job with the police
A teenager has been offered a life-changing chance to get a bionic arm to replace her missing limb after she felt she “never fitted in” due to her condition.
Gemma Tomlinson, 17, has spent her whole life battling with day-to-day tasks the most of us take for granted.
Ever since she was born, mum Julie said Gemma has faced difficulties that “nobody else even thinks about” due to her disability.
But now the teenager, who finds it a challenge to do tasks like tie shoelaces, put on socks or chop food, has been offered the chance to have an electronic bionic arm made for her.
Gemma recently told her family she wants to learn to drive and hoped to one day join the police force.
This revelation prompted her loved ones to track down a company in Bristol that specialises in high-tech prosthetics, The Manchester Evening News reports.
Gemma’s right arm ends at her elbow but the company have said it would be possible to build a high-tech prosthetic arm for Gemma, with a hand which has individual moving fingers – if her family can raise enough money.
Gemma, 17, said: “Growing up I always had to find different ways to do things, and noticed I was different from everybody else early on. I didn’t feel I fitted in because nobody I knew had any sort of disability.
“I had two different prosthetic arms as a child, one of them was just for looks and it made it look like I had two hands, and the other was a heavier one that I struggled to use because I was so young.
“I am thinking of joining the police so it would help me with everything job wise, and I want to be able to do more day to day things like learning to drive.”
Open Bionics, based in Bristol, develop medical devices that aim to give people with conditions like Gemma’s, a shot at a more normal life.
The Hero Arm is the world’s first clinically approved 3D printed bionic arm, the company said.
Mum Julie said that the device could offer Gemma the chance to ‘move on, grow up and develop’ with her life.
She has watched her daughter struggle with daily tasks for 17 years.
Julie said: “Gemma was born with her limb deficiency on her right arm, below her elbow so was born with no lower arm or hand.
“Gemma really wants to grow up, move on and learn to do things like driving and getting a job now.
“She really feels this bionic arm would make her life easier because she struggles a lot.
“She can’t do every day things we take for granted like tying her laces or chopping up food.
“She has grown up without using her arm and she has adapted, but still really struggles, and this would give her so much more confidence and improve her chances and quality of life.
“The fingers would move individually, it has better grip and would give her a chance to do normal things like everybody else.
“It is like putting your socks on with one hand – it’s so challenging and things nobody else even thinks about, but she faces that every single day.”
Gemma and her mum are now raising £5,000 to cover the cost of the bionic arm.