When Annabelle was born without her left forearm and hand, I was overwhelmed with shock, frustration and anxiety about what the future would hold for my daughter. No prenatal tests had shown the deformity and the doctors and nurses, while assuring me that “since Annabelle does not know life with two hands, she won’t miss it”, provided no advice about a possible prostheses. I felt complete lost as to how to help my daughter, but I was determined to find a way.
I began searching the internet for any link that would provide information about children’s prostheses. One can imagine my delight to find that the Variety Myoelectric Center, the only myoelectric program in North America, was located so close to home, at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.
Annabelle’s first visit to the Myoelectric Center was at three months of age. After fourteen months of therapy using a passive prosthetic arm, Annabelle was fitted for her first myoelectric arm in May, 2008. A myoelectric hand moves when an electrode receives a signal, sent by the brain to a muscle in the arm, to open and close. She has learned to open and close her hand, spontaneously and on command, and to use her fingers to grasp objects. Annabelle is able to engage in all the normal activities a child her age enjoys, using two hand to accomplish most tasks. She has even enrolled in a gymnastics class.
Annabelle wears her arm from morning to night, and asks for “arm, arm” upon awakening. I am still amazed when I see her run from her room with a book in each hand. The Variety Myoelectric Center’s comprehensive program is essential to children like Annabelle; it has afforded her the opportunity to hold onto life with two hands and never let go.
-Michelle, Annabelle’s Mom
Supporting K.I.D.S. in Need
A thank you note from a child who benefited from the Kids In Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) program.