A funding appeal has been set up to provide a bionic limb for a man who had his arm amputated because of cancer.
Over £13,000 has been raised for the bebionic arm for Josie Williamson which will give him vastly improved ability compared with the prosthetic limb that he currently uses.
Josie’s mother Marie, older sister Gillian and other family members have been packing bags at the co-op in a bid to raise £45,000 to pay for the arm, necessary physiotherapy and the fee for the funding page at GoGetFunding.
Local film-maker JJ Jamieson has posted a you tube video taking a look at how Joseph lives his life with one arm and what he hopes to be able to accomplish with the bebionic arm, which is said to be the “world’s most lifelike bionic hand”.
According to Gillian, 26-year-old Josie has led a colourful life and certainly not one without its troubles. He was stricken with encephalitis at seven which led to brain damage, epileptic seizures and behavioural problems.
During this difficult period his younger brother Curtis, now 19, was Josie’s “main carer and best friend”.
But as he got older, Joseph’s brain damage healed, his seizures became less frequent and his behaviour improved so that he effectively became an adult at a later age than most people. He also moved away from Whalsay to live in Lerwick.
Gillian added that because Josie’s problems had no obvious physical root, that distanced many people in the Whalsay community. But as he returned to “normal” Marie was incredibly moved by the warm reaction of folk in the community.
Just as he was picking up, Josie was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable cancer in his right wrist and as a result had to undergo the amputation.
Virtually all the money raised so far has been through the bag-packing but hopefully the funding page will help put a dent in the £30,000 shortfall needed to equip Josie with the bebionic arm and learn how to use it.
Gillian said: “It is never going to be as good as having a normal arm but it is the next best thing.”
The Williamsons are planning further fund-raising events and Marie will be singing a song she penned specially for Josie entitled Home at the Shetland Folk Festival, where it will be on sale to raise money for the cause.
There will also be the more usual Sunday teas, toy swaps and the like and the Williamsons are keen to hear of any other fund-raising ideas.