June 28, 2022

How Aireborough Rotary in Leeds helped transform young Billy’s life

Through Facebook, Assistant Governor for Leeds, Janet Appleton, learned about Donna Gregson’s quest to fund a bionic hero arm for her 10-year-old son Billy which would cot £25,000.

 Billy was born with a right arm and hand shorter than his left with only two fingers and a thumb and limited movement. Attending Bramley Park Academy, Billy simply wanted to be like his friends, to play sports and ride a bike, he was also being bullied.

Donna searched for and eventually found a company called Open Bionics making the type of arm required as he could not get a bionic arm on the NHS. Billy had his arm measured and eventually had a trial where he managed to write his name and pick up a number of small items. He was blown away by how much he could achieve and looked forward to returning for another fitting. Fundraising continued impressively and at the eleventh hour a major donation secured the purchase of the arm.

The photo with the fishing rod shows the colourful sleeve bought for the arm by Aireborough’s donation.

Billy was eager and grateful to come to Aireborough's Club meeting to demonstrate how his muscles activate the electrodes in the bionic arm. Only a short while after receiving the arm he is able to pick up small objects and to hold a glass. His school friends have been most intrigued with his new arm, the bullying now seems to have stopped.

Over the May Bank Holiday weekend, he intended going fishing with his Dad for the first time, this was something to which he had been looking forward to for a long time. The bionic arm will last him until he is 18/19 years old, if he grows faster than normal, he will be given an upgrade. His bionic arm is currently covered by insurance until the end of the year.so fund raising will begin again shortly for the £1,000 needed to cover insurance for next year.

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