WATCH VIDEO: Dream comes true for area boy who receives Iron Man prosthetic arm

James Parris is your average 8-year-old boy who likes to wrestle and play soccer and video games. The Lewisburg boy has dreams of owning a landscaping business and eventually becoming an engineer, but recently one of his more personal wishes came true.

After about three years of filing applications to find a prosthetic arm for James, he was approved to receive his first prosthetic, an Iron Man-themed Hero Arm produced by Open Bionics in the United Kingdom.

His mother Melissa Parris said he had wanted one for as long as he could remember, but it wasn’t the right time.



“When he was first born, we did look at prosthetics, but it wasn’t functionable, and I figured that if it wasn’t functionable it didn’t serve a purpose,” she said.

James was born with a type of syndactyly syndrome, a condition that occurs during fetal development where bones may be missing from fingers or toes or the fingers themselves could be missing.

“We didn’t find out he was missing his hand until he was born,” she said. But James doesn’t let this condition reign over his life. “Even though his hand isn’t there, he uses his arm just like he would anything else. He uses it to open doors and to hold things,” Melissa said.

Melissa first heard about the Hero Arm through the Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit that provides education materials and supports groups for parents and their children that have similar conditions.

“They said the Hero Arm was accepting applications. We applied for different kinds of prostheses and come to find out they just weren’t fitting for James. Either they denied us, or we denied them. It just wasn’t the right prostheses for him,” she said.

Once they were approved, the Parris family was connected to clinician Jason Baity at the Hanger Clinic in Dayton where he evaluated and fit James for the Hero Arm. Baity said the main difference between the Hero Arm and traditional prosthetics is the design. “It is the first clinically authorized, 3D printed, myoelectric prostheses.”

James chose Marvel superhero Iron Man for his theme.

“They had a lot of different things, but I like Iron Man the best because he’s one of my favorite super heroes,” he said.



James said he was excited to see his arm after the three-month process to get it and took to it immediately. “I would’ve thought we would’ve had to have some therapy sessions we had to go through to teach him how to use it. But he literally put it on and was like I know how to do this,” Melissa said.

James said he is most excited to ride his bike and play catch with his friends but showing it off is an added bonus. “A lot of people have seen it and they say, ‘that’s cool’ and some kids say that they want one too.”

When James outgrows his arm, it will be rebuilt and customized for someone else.

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