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Renewed hope for Telford mother of three hoping to get a bionic arm

By Rob Smith | Telford | Homepage | Published:

A Telford woman raising money to buy a prosthetic hand has redoubled her efforts with the news that a more affordable arm is available.

Sam Gibson

Sam Gibson, from Sutton Hill, is determined to gather the funds to buy a bionic hand to replace the one she had amputated when a finger injury led to nerve damage and chronic, debilitating pain.

The 47-year-old previously set her sights on a bionic arm that would cost £30,000, of which she and her family have raised about £2,500 through various events.

Sam was losing hope of meeting the target but earlier this year the bionics company Open Bionics announced the Hero Arm, a lightweight and more affordable alternative.

She spoke with the company’s representatives and was told she fit the arm’s criteria and that if she could pay the £10,000 necessary a Hero Arm would be hers.

Deadline

Sam said: “We might not make it but we can’t help but try. I’ve not decided when the deadline is going to be but if we don’t raise all the money we need then I will donate what we have raised to cancer and missing limb charities.”

The mother of three suffered a finger injury while cleaning up after her cat in October of 2010 and was later diagnosed with chronic regional pain syndrome. In November 2014 she went ahead with amputation of her entire right hand because of the pain caused by complications and deformities.

“I knew the pain and phantom pain would be awful but the deformity was too much,” said Sam. “All I want is to be able to have a robotic hand so I can go back to work and help my husband.”

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Sam qualified as a flower arranger before the injury, and she desperately wants to be able to return to her dream. She also struggles to care for her six dogs and two cats with just one hand, and hopes a Hero Arm will help her regain her independence.

The Hero Arm is a myoelectric prosthesis for below-elbow amputees, meaning it contains electrodes that can detect signals sent by muscle movements. They will become available for people in the UK from Wednesday. April 25.

One of the events planned to support Sam’s arm appeal is a scooter ride spanning five nations. Members of Telford Tigers Scooter Club, of which Sam is a member, will team up with Shrewsbury Severnside Lions to complete a scooter circuit of Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England in three days in May.

Sam herself will ride in a support van with the scooters on the 634 mile trip.

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This will be followed by a fun day on July 8 at the Freemasons Hall, in Crewe Street, Shrewsbury, featuring a raffle, barbecue, bouncy castle, bar, stalls, DJ Ruff Reeves and singer Robbie Jones. Raffle tickets cost £10 and the prize will be a Lambretta scooter.

Last October Sam took on the challenge of climbing Mount Snowdon with her son Joshua Rickers, friends Craig Marti, Kim Ford and Shelley Goodwin and they raised £680.

To donate to Sam’s appeal visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/givesamahand

To learn more visit openbionics.com

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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