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Ashtabula County man receives bionic arm with help from donors, medical technology company

ASHTABULA, Ohio (WJW) – To Ashtabula County Mann says he’s grateful to have a new bionic arm, and says it wouldn’t have been possible to buy the high-tech link if it wasn’t for the generosity of the donors and a medical technology company.

Richard Slusher, 27, says his parents decided that a challenge they faced when Richard was born wouldn’t stop him from leading a full life.

“I was born without my right arm below the elbow, which is known as a congenital amputation,” he said. “If there was ever something that I couldn’t do or that I needed help with, they would always take me in and encourage me to find a path that best suited me,” he said.

Over the years, the Shriners Hospital for Children provided Richard with a range of prosthetic arms, but when he turned 18 these were no longer provided for free.

He told Fox 8, “If you want to get a new prosthesis, or any other type of prosthesis, you either need to have a lot of money or have really good insurance.”

In 2020 Richard found out about a bionic arm made to measure by the British company Open Bionics. The so-called hero arm is equipped with sensors that can read its muscle contractions.

“I was immediately taken with its futuristic look and function. It has six different gripping patterns, so it vastly improved the amount of things I could do,” he said.

The cost of the Hero Arm was $ 20,000, and when its insurance company refused to help, Open Bionics recommended starting a GoFundMe page.

Within a month, he raised $ 11,000. “I don’t really like asking for help, I’ve always tried to do things my own way, but I’m now learning to ask for help and now let’s see what happens when you ask for help,” he said .

After a company called Presque Isle Medical Technologies learned that Richard was $ 9,000 below his target, the company offered to cover the difference if Richard would allow the company to measure him for his new bionic arm.

“You know when you hear something like this you think it’s too good to be obviously true. At first I was speechless and then extremely grateful. “

Richard Slusher says the power of his new Hero Arm has given him a new level of independence, and the new look, which includes a variety of bold colors, suits his personality.

Richard, a tutor at the Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus and counselor at a camp for amputees, says he uses the story of his new right arm to inspire children to face their own challenges.

“When I can shed some light on the differences between the limbs and how I live my life adaptively, I feel like I’m doing something very positive,” he said.