Three-year-old Tommy Dengel, who was born with a short forearm due to amniotic band syndrome - a rare condition where stray bands of tissue wrap around the limbs and cut off blood flow - can now pick things up, shake hands and play with toys using his DIY arm.
A charity, Team UnLimbited, provided the design and his dad, 29-year-old Adam, of Shepherd Way, Royston, bought a 3D printer and spent hours mastering the technique due to being unhappy with the basic NHS prosthetic.
Each arm is made of plastic which is strung together with fishing wire and orthodontic elastic bands, before it’s strapped on to the youngster’s limb with velcro.
Adam, who works at Sheffield Arena, told the Chronicle he had no knowledge of making prosthetics but felt compelled to make his son’s life better.
“During early pregnancy, my wife Katie and I were given the devastating news that a complication had occurred and our baby was going to born missing a limb,” he said.
“I’ll never forget the day we were sat having a normal baby scan, looking forward to seeing our beautiful baby again. The nurse paused and went quiet - I instinctively thought she was just concentrating trying to find a better angle.
“A senior nurse came in, she looked concerned, they talked quietly and then she left. The nurse said she was very sorry and something was wrong with our 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.
“We were given a basic pamphlet of a generic limb difference which to be honest didn’t help one bit as it was dry and clinical. We were also given the option of abortion.”
But Adam and Katie continued with the pregnancy and, with help from specialist charities along the way, Tommy is now happier than ever with six artificial arms to choose from.
And the pair have set up their own charity - The LimbBo Foundation - which aims to help other parents and children going through the same thing.
“We have been absolutely blown away with the amount of people who have shared Tommy’s story. It means so much, but we are doing this to help our son and other disabled children with limb differences lead a normal, happy life without fear of not being like other kids their age.
“We have thought tirelessly of a way as parents we can help not only limb difference children but also parents and expectant parents.
“The foundation’s first step will be to design and create heartfelt, considerate, informative, non-judgmental, useful leaflets plastered with photos of superb kids like Tommy and how they’ve overcome adversity, made friends and live a happy life.
“That’s what we needed, a hug and someone to say it’s going to be OK, not a medical journal. We will aim to get a professional product that can be mass printed and positioned in hospitals throughout the UK.”