Kind. Adventurous. Fearless. Our littlest Koalaa.
Hero's Koalaa Soft Prosthetic story
At their 20-week pregnancy scan, Amy and Ben were told they were going to have a daughter with a difference; a one in 32,000 upper limb difference called Symbrachydactyly. Going against suggestions to terminate the pregnancy from doctors who were worried about other potential complications, Hero was thankfully born happy and healthy, and with only one hand. Now an active toddler and with a new baby sister to play with, Hero is being supported to find her own way in the world - experiencing all that life has to offer a kind, adventurous and fearless young lady.
As one of the first to have a Koalaa Soft Prosthetic - and at 2.5 years old being the youngest to try one to date – we caught up with mum Amy, to hear how they got on.
We knew from early on in the pregnancy - long before any scans – that if we had a daughter, we were going to call her Hero. As a family, we just love historical and unusual names, and wanted something that was both strong and beautiful – when we came across Hero, we loved it. It’s wonderful to watch her grow and become the confident and intelligent little girl she is today. Hero is more able and talented than I could ever have dreamed, and she is blossoming into the most amazing young lady, who makes me proud every single day. I love seeing her get stuck in with anything and everything. She does get frustrated and sometimes declares that she “can’t do it.” The thing is, she absolutely can! Give her the right tools and equipment and she can do whatever she sets her mind to.
What were your first impressions of Koalaa?
When we saw Koalaa Soft Prosthetics, we were like ‘Yes, that’s it!’ as it was exactly what we had envisioned she might need! We’d joked in the past about how we wanted Hero to have a treasure chest like Captain Hook’s, full of all the tools needed in lieu of his hook. And Koalaa Soft Prosthetics are exactly that concept - we couldn’t believe it! When her ALX arrived, we just sat it on the side, so Hero could put it on if she wanted to, or equally ignore it if she wished. The only thing we’d previously tried were little grip aids, which she didn’t get on with so we expected she might reject her ALX too, but things were very different.
How has Hero been using her ALX?
The first time Hero put it on she did 15-20 minutes drawing. It was great as it had a firm grip, so the pens didn’t wobble around like they had done with the gripping aid. Hero also likes to be helpful and to get involved with whatever we are doing. She was delighted to use a screwdriver for the first time, using her left hand to turn the screwdriver while she steadied it with her ALX.
One moment that really stands out for me though, was when she was helping us paint an outside wall. She picked up her cup in one hand, while her ALX held on to the paintbrush. Holding two objects, one in each hand, may sound like a really simple thing, but it was quite emotive for me. I’m so used to seeing her stop and have to put down whatever she is doing in order to have a drink, so that was a very special moment.
What would you say to anyone interested in getting a Koalaa Soft Prosthetic?
A Koalaa Prosthetic is exactly what we wanted and for people like us, who want our daughter to have access to any activity she chooses to have a go at without it seeming like a big deal, it’s perfect. There are so many possibilities with the attachment design and because it’s so lightweight and simple, it’s also practical to carry around. We can’t wait to see what happens with Koalaa moving forward!