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Canterbury family raising money to buy daughter bionic arm

By Marijke Hall

The family of a girl born with half her right arm missing is raising money for a bionic limb to finally make her life easier.

Abi Taylor has no lower arm or hand.

Despite her parents insisting it has never held her back, the overuse of her left arm and constant twisting of her body to carry out everyday tasks has led to severe pain in her back, neck and shoulders.

VIDEO: A family is raising funds to buy their daughter a bionic arm

Dad Matt Price, of Field Avenue, Canterbury, and mum Erin Taylor, from Ramsgate, say their defiant daughter has never complained or seen herself as different to anyone else.

She taught herself life skills, like tying shoelaces and getting dressed, at a very young age.

Even as a toddler, she came up with her own unique way of tackling milestones.

“She did really well as a child,” said Mrs Taylor, 41, who found out Abi had congenital limb difference when 16 weeks pregnant.

“I did worry about some things like learning to walk and crawling because she would be lopsided,” she said.

“But she was clever. She would work out a way to do things.

Abi Taylor with her mum Erin
Abi Taylor with her mum Erin

"When she was learning to pull herself up against the sofa she would use her head and then her other arm to get onto her feet.”

Taxi driver Mr Price, 44, says Abi, now 20, has never let it stop her doing things.

But without the bionic arm she will be in chronic pain by her 40s.

“In the past she was fitted with a cosmetic prosthetic limb, which has no real function and doesn’t help with daily life,” he said.

“She’s never had any help and no financial support from the government.

“Even when she was learning to drive, she had to pay extortionate amounts for her driving lessons - which were an hour away in an adapted car - and then had to buy a car and pay for all the adaptions because she’s not entitled to a disability car.

Abi with her older sister Tia as a child
Abi with her older sister Tia as a child

“Motorline Toyota in Canterbury were amazing helping us when it felt like no one else would.”

The family has launched a fundraising campaign to try to raise £30,000 for a bionic arm for Abi, who is planning to study forensic anthropology at Liverpool John Moores University next year.

Abi says it will help her with the course, which involves extensive hands-on fieldwork.

The former East Kent College student, who works at Gore Brothers in Margate with stepdad Mick Gore, says she has never been self-conscious, but finds some people underestimate her.

“Little children are fine, it’s adults that can be a bit awkward,” she admits.

“Some talk down to me and try to help me do things I can do myself.

An example of the bionic arm Abi's family hope to buy
An example of the bionic arm Abi's family hope to buy

“People don’t realise what I’m capable of.

“None of my friends have ever had an issue with it. I was never bullied.

“I can do most things that other people do. You adapt.

“I think the main problem is the pain. It would be so much easier if I didn’t have the stump.

“If I had another hand, my life would be different.”

The family is planning to get a Bebionic hand, through prosthetics company Ottobock, which has individual motors in each finger allowing the user to move the hand and grip in a natural way.

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