During early pregnancy myself and my wife, Katie, were given the devastating news that a complication had occurred, and our baby was going to born missing a limb. I’ll never forget the day we were having a normal baby scan, looking forward to seeing our beautiful baby again.
The lovely chatty nurse paused and went quiet. I instinctively just thought she was just concentrating trying to find a better angle or whatever. The silence continued and she began to look concerned. She said quietly “I’ll just be a minute; I have to go and get a colleague”. My heart sank, I tried to reassure my panicking wife that everything was ok…. I knew it wasn’t.
Another more senior looking nurse came in, she looked concerned, they talked quietly and then she left. The nurse turned to us and nervously said “I’m very sorry something is wrong with your baby. That moment I’ve never felt pain quite like it, I didn’t know what to think, they explained that our baby we had tried for so long to have was going to be born missing a limb and could have potentially more problems. Still crying and shaken, we were ushered into a cramped little room, walking past the waiting room full of expectant parents who didn’t know where to look….I just wanted to run away.
We were given a basic black and white pamphlet of a generic limb difference which to be honest didn’t help one bit, it was dry and clinical. We were also given the option of a termination. We left feeling numb and confused.
4 months later, baby Thomas arrived….
As I held him for the first time all of my worries disappeared. Yes, this little boy was missing an arm but my god he was beautiful.
Initially, it was difficult to watch him try to pick things up and not be able to, what hit me deep down was that things like this were going to be a day-to-day occurrence, but I was prepared for this.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how he adapted everything to make things work. He began to use his feet, pinned things down and carried things with his ‘little arm’, nothing could get in the way of him achieving anything.
Adam Dengel (Tommy’s Dad)
Fast forward a couple of years and we could see that many of our fears were unfounded and born out of lack of knowledge. Yes, having a limb difference causes challenges but our children will throw themselves into anything! Archery, Jiu Jitsu, gymnastics, swimming, lego … ‘I can do it’ an oft repeated phrase. They can do most things – just in their own way. Tommy has just swum 25metres, is awesome on his Play station and can build lego that looks far too complicated to us.
Realising that we were in a privileged position, Tommy’s parents – Adam and Katie were having a conversation one evening about how ‘someone’ should help families who felt like we did and were feeling isolated. The rest is as they say history, why shouldn’t that someone be us?
We started with 4 trustees (Adam, Katie, Woody and Jane) from a garage in Royston (well actually we started in a bedroom but very quickly had to move to the garage, 3D printers are very noisy!).
Tommy has a younger sister, Layla Jane, and the pair of them are inseparable. Layla is also a great help at any LimbBo events
You can see the rest of our story throughout this website but the inspiration behind LimbBo is our own Tommy D who is now 8. He’s fully involved in LimbBo, helps with packaging orders, supporting other limb different children at meet ups and generally amazing us all every day.
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