Young Cork amputee determined not to give up campaign to raise funds for bionic arm

Young Cork amputee determined not to give up campaign to raise funds for bionic arm

A screengrab from a Youtube video on Cathal Hourigan's GoFundMe page displaying a bionic arm similar to the one he would be given. Picture: SWNS/Youtube

A YOUNG amputee said he will consider taking out a €20,000 loan to make his dream of owning a life-changing bionic hand reality.

Cathal Hourigan, who was born with a condition called amniotic band syndrome, set up a Go Fund Me earlier this year after being unable to afford the crippling €50,000 price tag for a functioning bionic arm. The arm would have the option of a device for manual labour and office work. 

With a total of €14,510 contributed to the account to date, the 22-year-old is considerably short of his target. However, he is determined not to give up.

"I will be 23 in December," he said. "This isn't going to happen in the next few months but the good thing is I have time. If I took out a €30,000 loan that would cripple me but if it comes to it I will borrow €20,000 I have been putting away savings too because I know that a target of €50,000 may be unlikely."

Cathal, from Mallow, described how the prosthetic would change his life.

"It would definitely make it easier for everyday tasks like typing. Right now I am using both limbs to type which means I am often hitting three buttons at once. It's nothing to complain about. 

"I can type quickly but if I have the prosthetic it would make everything so much faster and easier. The plan is to insure it so that I know I have it for life. The last thing I want is to have to set up another account in ten years asking people to donate a second time."

Cathal Hourigan
Cathal Hourigan

If his fundraising is successful, Cathal will undergo a four-month training period to learn how to operate the device.

"It's at a bit of a standstill at the moment," he said of the fund. 

"I think it's an Irish thing but the one thing I absolutely hate in life is asking people for money. There are so many ads when you come in from work from organisations looking for money. I get why it can become too much for people."

Notwithstanding, he said that the generosity from the public has been overwhelming.

"There was one woman who donated €500 to the account and I actually got in contact with her to make sure she had meant to put in 500-and not €50. I would have had no issue giving it back and couldn't believe her generosity."

The accounting graduate said he is yet to see the prosthetic in reality.

"To date, this is still something that I've only seen in videos. In general, you don't see a lot of amputees, or even people with other disabilities represented. 

"During the campaign for the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum, Leo Varadkar was the first serving Irish minister to come out as gay. That did a lot for the cause so it would be great to see somebody in government do the same for people with disabilities."

To donate to Cathal’s Go Fund Me, visit this link.

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