THOMAS MATTHEW DENGEL (AGE 6)
During early pregnancy myself and my wife 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 sat 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 got 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 the 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 disabled and missing a limb and could have potentially more problems. Still crying and shook up 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/possibility of abortion. 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 see 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.
With the help of Team Unlimbited & Greg & Tori Lynch, Thomas could also pick things up with his new "Buzz Lightyear arm", you have never seen a child with a bigger smile, it meant the world to him. This is something I will be forever grateful to both of you for and will never forget.
Tommy can ride a bike, climb, use the toilet, get dressed, draw, paint, cut paper, build things, everything a normal 3 year old can do. He is still learning but i'm beyond proud of him, and he is a fantastic big brother to his sister Layla-Jane.
He is living testament to how courageous Limb Different children can be and i'm proud to call him my son.
Adam Dengel - Tommy's Dad