Courtney Harvey’s dream finally realised

2010-07-14 00:00

AFTER almost two years of holding on to her dream, Courtney Harvey, with the help of the Mooi River community and general public, has finally received her new high-tech prosthetic arm.

The Courtney Harvey Fund was started just under two years ago in an effort to raise funds for an I-Limb for Courtney, who was born without her right forearm and longed to be able to use two hands.

Three weeks ago, Courtney’s dream became a reality when she flew to George to receive her arm — just in time for her 21st birthday.

During Courtney’s week-long stay in George, she met with prosthe­tist Allan Oates, who performed various tests and measured Courtney’s existing forearm.

Once Courtney’s skin tone and colour were matched, both the hand and skin were sent for from Scotland, where the I-Limb is manufactured.

“The prosthetist walked in hiding the arm under his coat. The feeling I had when I saw it is just indescribable,” said Courtney.

Used to being “one-arm dominant” her whole life, Courtney admits that the I-Limb will take some getting used to. “Every day I am learning new things. It’s a huge change … but it’s a good change and I am very excited and happy with my new arm.”

Referring to some of the things that she can do now, Courtney said: “There are so many things that people do that they normally take for granted such as peeling a potato, holding a page while typing or pushing a trolley. I was so excited when I pushed a trolley with my hands.”

Courtney is extremely grateful for all the aid received from the community and thanks everyone who has made donations, supported fundraisers and helped in any way.

Her sister Casey, who is secretary of the Courtney Harvey Fund, said: “Courtney’s journey is proof that you should never give up on your hopes and dreams. With a little hard work, determination and belief in yourself, anything is possible.”

THE I-Limb Hand is controlled by a unique, highly intuitive control system that uses a two-input myo­electric (muscle signal) to open and close the hand’s lifelike fingers. Myoelectric controls use the electrical signal generated by Courtney’s muscles in the remaining portion of her limb. This signal is then picked up by electrodes that are situated in the socket and make contact with the surface of her skin. With the new I-Limb Pulse, Courtney will be able to programme her hand via a Bluetooth connection, using specially enabled software known as ‘My Biosim’, which will allow her to set different grip patterns, control the strength of her grip and fine-tune her arm.

 

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