Eleven-year-old Star Wars fan gets R2-D2 bionic arm and shows it off to Mark Hamill

'You really are a hero. May the Force be with you always', says Hamill 

Sarah Young
Tuesday 03 March 2020 12:54 GMT
11-year-old Star Wars fan gets R2-D2 bionic arm and shows it off to Mark Hamill

An 11-year-old Star Wars fan has received an R2-D2 bionic limb and been able to show it off to Luke Skywalker himself.

Bella Tadlock, from Florida, raised almost $14,000 (£11,000) for her bionic “Hero Arm”, created by Bristol-based company Open Bionics, which aims to "turn disabilities into superpowers".

The school girl’s fundraiser caught the eye of Star Wars actor Mark Hamill in November when he retweeted her appeal to his 3.6 million followers.

Now, Bella has became the first person in the US to receive the advanced multi-grip arm in the style of her favourite character, R2-D2.

The Star Wars fan even got the chance show off her new arm to Mark during a Skype call, where she demonstrated picking up a bottle with her new hand.

“That is great - that is so fantastic. I'm so happy that you were able to have this happen for you," Mark said.

“I heard you’re a Star Wars fan but I have to tell you I’m a big fan of yours.”

He continued: “I’m so so proud of you. They call it a 'Hero Arm' because you really are a hero. May the Force be with you always.”

The arm, which works by picking up signals from muscles in the residual limb, is one of several hero arms manufactured by Open Bionics.

Bella raised almost $14,000 (£11,000) for her bionic 'Hero Arm' (PA)

The company has a royalty-free licensing agreement with Lucasfilm to produce Star Wars cover designs for their range of bionic arms.

Speaking about her new prosthetic arm, Bella said: ”I now have two hands – I am so excited. I will be able to ride my bike, create in the kitchen and be like my friends.

“To be able to bend my fingers and pick things up is a dream come true.“

The Star Wars fan showed off her new arm to actor Mark Hamill on Skype (PA)

Bella was born without fingers on her right hand and with her left arm shorter than her right.

After several operations, she now has three fingers and a thumb on her right hand, but wanted a non-surgical option for her left hand.

Bella's mother, Pamela Tadlock, described her daughter’s new arm as “completely life-changing”.

Bella's mother has described the new bionic arm as 'life-changing' (PA)

“Since Isabella was adopted at a few weeks old she has overcome huge obstacles and endured many surgeries,” she said.

“Now she has a hand, with no surgery and no pain. I'm so grateful to Open Bionics and Hanger Clinic. Bella likes Luke Skywalker because he lost a hand and was adopted like her.”

Samantha Payne, co-founder Open Bionics, said that the company is delighted that Bella loves her new R2-D2 arm.

“It’s fantastic that Mark Hamill, who is a role model to limb-different children worldwide, is so proactive in letting these kids know that they have the admiration and support of one of the galaxy's biggest heroes."

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