9 July 2021
A charitable initiative that provides free soft shell prosthetic arms for UK children has proven so successful it is being extended to all those under the age of 18 - with hundreds of young people set to benefit.
#ProjectLimitless was launched in October 2020, in association with The Douglas Bader Foundation, The Alex Lewis Trust and Koalaa, to help children with below elbow limb difference who may otherwise have difficulty accessing prosthetics.
More than £500k has been raised by the project to date, which has funded prosthetics for more than 500 children - close to 300 of whom have already received their prosthetic.
Due to the unique design of the Koalaa soft prosthetics being supplied, they are able to be ordered remotely, with no need to visit a clinic and can be shipped out in a matter of weeks. This has meant Koalaa has been able to provide prosthetics throughout the pandemic.
Parents of the children receiving them have been quick to show their gratitude on social media, sharing photos and videos of the prosthetics being used for everything from bike riding to skipping, playing the guitar, to drawing and using cutlery.
The Douglas Bader Foundation has been spearheading the fundraising efforts, along with quadruple amputee and adventurer, Alex Lewis. The project also has the support of leading limb difference charities including Reach, Limbo Foundation, Limb Power and I Am Possible Foundation.
David Bickers, CEO, The Douglas Bader Foundation, commented: “We’ve been blown away by the support that #ProjectLimitless continues to receive, and we’re absolutely thrilled to now be able to open it up to children of all ages. It’s fantastic to hear the feedback from families and all the fun things the children are getting up to with their new prosthetics!”
Alex Lewis said: “Having access to a prosthetic can be life-changing for children with limb difference, empowering them to live life to the full and inspiring them to pursue their passions and interests. Prosthetics can aid inclusion and independence, while supporting play, fun, exploration and everything else a growing child may wish to do! I’m so proud to be involved with #ProjectLimitless and to see it opening up new opportunities for children across the UK.”
The cost of prosthetics remains one of the major barriers for individuals with limb difference across the world. So too is the design of traditional prosthetics, which are designed for adults and not light enough or flexible enough for children.
Koalaa soft prosthetics - the first of their kind in the world - have completely reimagined prosthetics, from their design to the way they are fitted. Rather than being heavy and rigid like traditional prosthetics, Koalaa’s products are made from materials that are lightweight and flexible.
Their design sees wearers putting on a sleeve that can be fitted with different tool attachments, depending on the task or activity they would like to do. For example, to hold a pen or cutlery, chop vegetables, skip, paint, saw, ride a bike, or play the drums or a guitar. Alongside this, wearers become part of the Koalaa Community and are provided with a ‘limb buddy’, who supports them every step of the way.
If you’re based in the UK and have a child with a below elbow limb difference or partial hand, you can register for a free Koalaa prosthetic here. Koalaa is able to provide a solution for tiny babies through to adults.
Photo caption: Joanie and Oliver with the Koalaa prosthetics they have been provided through #ProjectLimitless