A Lisburn man who was born with only one hand has said he’s overwhelmed after members of the local community set up a fundraising campaign to help him buy a 3D-printed bionic arm.
Jason Fair, a 29-year-old gardener from Ballymacash, was born with a shortened right arm and no right hand.
He has described the public reaction since he posted information about the Open Bionics ‘Hero Arm’ on social media last week as “crazy.”
After seeing the post on Facebook, his friend Paige Lyttle decided to set up a JustGiving page in order to help Jason raise the £10,000 he needs to go to a private clinic in Scotland to get fitted with a bionic arm.
“Jason is a well respected man of the community and a true gentleman that would go above and beyond for anyone,” Paige said.
“He put it on Facebook last week about how much it would cost, but he’s too proud to ask for the help so I just decided to set up a (JustGiving) page for him.
“In less than a week we’ve got £1,300 already and the feedback on Facebook has been amazing, so hopefully he gets the total before the end of the summer.”
Jason, who is Deputy Master of Ballymacash LOL 317 and heavily involved with Ballymacash Rangers, said he’s been overwhelmed by the reaction to his post, with a number of people having pledged to undertake fundraisers to help him meet his target.
“I can’t believe the support I’ve received; it’s been crazy,” he said. “I just want to thank everyone. The community is all rallying together.”
Stressing that the bionic arm would make a real difference to him, particularly in his work as a gardener, Jason added: “The bog standard plastic prosthetic that I have at the minute, it’s very restrictive as there is no movement in it. This bionic arm would make a real difference, just with wee things like picking things up or being able to reach out of the car and grab a parking ticket.”
Another of Jason’s friends, Barry Williamson, said a number of fundraising events are being planned, with a 100-mile sponsored cycle around Lough Neagh on June 17 already confirmed.
“£10,000 is the price for it, so we are hoping to get so much from the JustGiving page and then whatever we can raise through the various fundraisers.
“I’ll also be contacting a lot of people in the bands community to see if they can make a donation,” he said.
Barry, who is chairman of Pride of Ballymacash Flute Band, added: “Nothing stops Jason in life. He’s worked from the day and hour he left school and before that. There’s nothing he won’t try and do. He is unbelievable. The effort he puts into everything he takes on in life is incredible.
“Jason joined the band with his plastic arm and hand. He said he wanted to play the flute, but I said ‘Look, you can’t do this. You can’t play the flute with one hand’. So straight away he took a drumstick and jammed it into his plastic hand and he was able to play the drum in the band.
“Drumming has changed over the years, it’s got a bit quicker and fancier, so he wasn’t able to do it any more, so he became a side walker, carrying a blackthorn stick and walking alongside the band, but he also plays the bass drum in Sunday parades as he can do that with one hand not a problem.
“We are hoping if he gets this bionic arm he might one day be able to go back onto the drum again.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paige-lyttle