Can you help Chulmleigh woman get a bionic arm?

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Saturday 24th April 2021 5:30 am
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Nicola Berry, who is hoping people will support her in her efforts to get a bionic arm.

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"I’M starting to get used to being referred to as the girl with one arm".

Nicola Berry (28) of Chulmleigh, has become accustomed to being acknowledged as the girl with one arm. 

"At work people would say ‘Oh do you know Nicola?’ and when people said no they would say she is the girl with one arm!" and then that would instantly make them know who I am, explained Nicola. 

"I don’t want to be known as that anymore. If I am going to be referred to by the fact that I have a limb difference I would love to be known as the girl with The Hero Arm."

The Hero Arm that Nicola is referring to is the world’s most affordable multi-grip bionic arm, manufactured using innovative 3D-scanning and 3D-printing by a company called Open Bionics in Bristol.

Other similar devices could cost you up to as much as £60,000 but the Hero Arm, costs less than £10,000, which makes it more attainable with support through crowdfunding.

Open Bionics is working to try to make the device more affordable and accessible hence why it now has a charity called "The Open Bionics Foundation", which is run by independent volunteer trustees to help people like Nicola afford a Hero Arm.

Not only that but it is a company that celebrates being unique and each device is created bespoke for the user.

"I feel like The Hero Arm is built like a Hero, it looks like a Hero,” exclaims Nicola. "I think wearing a prosthetic device like this would attract all the right attention."

When Nicola was growing up she was given a cosmetic glove to wear.

She said that luckily she was never bullied but she was always classed as different. People would question if Nicola could do certain tasks.

"The cosmetic glove did not help me at all,” says Nicola.

"I was just supposed to wear it so that it looked like I had two hands!"

Growing up Nicola explained that "you don’t care what people think until you get to a certain age"; but that she does think that it would be great for younger children to see people wearing the Hero Arm so that they know there is something out there to help them. 

"You don’t need to just hide the fact that you are missing a hand. I think adulthood is harder as there is just no help out there for the limb different community! That is why I was so grateful to hear about The Open Bionics Foundation."

Nicola has set up a gofundme page to try and crowdfund for her Hero Arm.

"I finally plucked up the courage to do it. My neighbour convinced me in the end and I set up my page.

"Now that I am an adult I can’t wait to be able to do all of the little things in life that I haven’t been able to do or ever believe was possible for me to do on my own."

The Hero Arm will make the simple things in life finally simple for Nicola too!

• Open Bionics was founded in 2014 by Joel Gibbard and Samantha Payne with the goal of developing affordable, assistive devices that enhance the human body. In other words, Open Bionics turns disabilities into superpowers. The Bristol-based bionics company is known globally for using 3D printing and 3D scanning, along with some clever software and design, to make advanced, affordable and accessible bionic limbs. Children and adults with below-elbow limb differences can register interest at: www.openbionics.com/sign-up .

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