Eight-year-old girl born with one hand receives ‘life-changing’ bionic arm

An eight-year-old girl born with one hand has become one of the youngest people in the UK to receive a “life-changing” prosthetic arm.

Tallulah Allen, from Bridgend in Wales, had begged her parents to homeschool her after becoming self-conscious about her limb difference.

Her mother, Kim, reached out to Bristol-based prosthetics company Open Bionics and Tallulah’s £10,000 Hero Arm was funded thanks to a supportive donor.

Ms Allen said: “Tallulah skipped out at home time proudly announcing that everyone said her arm was cool. She’s always lacked confidence, every time we go out and about she’s always hiding herself. But as soon as she’s had this arm, there’s no more hiding.

“I’m so happy for her, we’ve had happy tears, we’ve just been so happy about it all. There’s such a massive difference in Tallulah.

“It’s outrageous that it’s 2020 and Tallulah’s only opportunity for a limb via the NHS is a hand that doesn’t move or a hook, when Hero Arms exist.

“Open Bionics and the donor Paul have given Tallulah a new lease of life and we can’t thank them enough.”

Last week, Tallulah and her family visited the Open Bionics headquarters in Bristol to see how the Hero Arm is made, with Tallulah even able to pick the colour for her arm — opting for a vivid pink.

She met other Hero Arm users, Liz Wright and Daniel Melville, who gave her advice about the prosthetic, and taught her how to use it to play Jenga.

Ms Wright said: “Watching Tallulah’s face light up, as she successfully placed the Jenga block with her Hero Arm, was a truly magical moment.

“I can’t wait to see how the Hero Arm supports her in the future and I look forward to seeing her confidence grow more and more as time goes on.”

The arm works by picking up signals from muscles in Tallulah’s residual limb.

Tallulah said: “I love it. I knew it was for people who haven’t got hands, and you can pick your own colours, so I wanted one.”

Samantha Payne, a co-founder of Open Bionics, said: “We’re all so happy for Tallulah and extremely grateful to the generous donor.

“The Hero Arm is the world’s most affordable multi-grip bionic arm and manufactured at a price point that’s affordable enough for NHS healthcare.

“Until the Hero Arm is available on the NHS, there are many people in the UK crowdfunding for better prosthetic devices.

“The NHS adoption process for new technology is extremely unclear and slow which means young people like Tallulah are often faced with the only option of a hook.

“If you’re an upper limb amputee interested in the Hero Arm, please do apply on our website and we’ll support you with efforts to raise funds.”

Tallulah is not the first person to have a bionic arm funded by donors — in June, a teacher born without a right forearm had hers funded by the Worshipful Company of Glovers of London.