A young boy born without his right arm will soon become bionic, as he was gifted £13,000 from a generous donor for a 3D-printed Hero Arm from Open Bionics. Alexander (Alex) Sparks, 8 years old, from Oswaldtwistle, recently had a surprise visit from James Anderson, owner of the charity organization Depher, who immediately sent funds to Open Bionics to begin production of the bionic prosthesis.
Alex enthusiastically shared that he’s very excited to be finally able to hold a cup without spilling it and go fishing. Now that his Hero Arm is on the way, Alex won’t have to wait much longer to make those dreams a reality.
Alex’s mother Dionne was unaware her baby boy would be born without a limb difference, saying it did come as a surprise. Despite being born limb-different, Dionne has watched her son grow into a robust and head-strong little boy who never balks at a challenge and is always finding adaptive ways to overcome obstacles. However, determination and a positive mindset can sometimes lead to frustration with simple, two-handed tasks that most people take for granted. This is what led Alex’s parents to seek options for their son.
Dionne discovered Open Bionics when she first caught eye of the Iron Man arm covers, which Alex loved to see. After signing up and turning of age to qualify, Alex and his family were invited to attend Open Bionics’ Experience Day in Liverpool, which gives people an opportunity to learn more about the Hero Arm. Initially, Alex and his family were just in attendance to check out the arm and not attempt to buy one, as they couldn’t afford it. However, upon seeing how much her son loved the Hero Arm, the informal setting of the event, and how easy crowdfunding was, Dionne knew she had found the new bionic arm for her little boy, who never really took to using NHS prosthetics.
“The smile and the look of pure fascination on his face was something we’ll never forget,” Dionne explained. “The sheer amazement he showed when watching the fingers move for the first time was a sight to behold.” she shared. What also struck Dionne was how quickly they felt accepted into a group with similar disabilities to Alex.
Rushing home, Dionne immediately took matters into her own hands. She set up a GoFundMe campaign for Alex and shared his limb-different story for the world to see. Initially, the campaign was able to amass £2,000. From there, Alex’s parents were given the advice to contact businesses and sports teams for help. Dionne’s husband Robin reached out to Blackburn Hawks co-owner Carl Everitt, who passed on their story to a man named James.
Enter James Anderson, whose company Depher has helped millions, and who was immediately interested in helping Alex. He said: “His story drew me in. If Depher can do anything, this would be it. The arm will give a little boy his life back. I fell in love with him.” James paid Alex a visit and asked him to read a message on his phone. Little did Alex know that James was showing him a payment confirmation of £13,000 sent to Open Bionics. Through gasps and tears, Alex and his family emotionally thanked James for his enormous donation.
“The strain as a family this has taken off is incredible and the future this has provided Alex is a dream come true,” Dionne said. “He’s happy about the thought of having two hands and being able to do things his friends in school do.” she said.
Having secured the funds for his Hero Arm, Alex will next visit the Open Bionics clinic in Bristol for measurements and fitting. From there, Alexander’s Hero Arm will be constructed by the fabrication team and delivered to him for an official unboxing. A truly special moment for a brilliant young boy, Open Bionics is especially appreciative of the generosity of James Anderson for making this opportunity a reality. One more member to the Bionic Squad! Welcome, Alex!