Touch Bionics, provider of advanced prosthetic technologies, and the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS Formula One Team today revealed that Matthew James, a 14-year old who was born without a left hand, has been successfully fitted with the i-LIMB™ Pulse, the world’s leading electronic prosthetic hand.
Matthew is studying at Reading School, the same school MERCEDES GP PETRONAS Team Principal, Ross Brawn, attended and still supports and visits on a regular basis. Matthew is a big fan of Formula One and lives a normal teenage life, except that he has a lower arm deficiency which means that his left arm stops at his wrist.
In a letter to Ross, an amazingly funny, honest and mature one for a boy of his age, Matthew explained how his current prosthetic hand only allows him to perform basic tasks with a simple open and close grip mechanism.
Matthew also explained that his target now was to be able to afford a more functional prosthetic arm, and he already had in mind a specific model: The i-LIMB™ Pulse. Developed by Touch Bionics, the new hand would give him more control and freedom, and a much greater range of motions. The only issue: the hand is very expensive and is not generally available through the NHS.
Ross and the team were so moved by his unique letter that they got in touch with Matthew and his dad, Robert. After a few phone calls, a factory tour was organised for Matthew, and at the same time, a technical representative from the team contacted Touch Bionics to start initial discussions on what could be done to help Matthew.
Since then the two companies have established a positive relationship and, in exchange for access to technology services that have benefited its research and development team, Touch Bionics was pleased to offer its clinical services for the fitting of Matthew’s i-LIMB™ Pulse, free of charge.
“We were moved by Matthew’s story, and once MERCEDES GP PETRONAS showed how they would be able to work positively with our development team, then we were happy to waive our clinical services fee,” said John Huntley, UK clinical manager at Touch Bionics.
A privately funded fitting of the i-LIMB™ Pulse usually costs over £25,000, and the clinical services component of the fitting is the largest proportion of this cost.
To help Matthew raise £10,000 towards the remaining cost of the hand, the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team is working closely with his family on their fundraising initiative. Matthew’s family have set up a fundraising web site to help raise the funds for his new prosthesis: http://mynewarm.moonfruit.com/donate