A young “Star Wars” fan from Florida just got two of the coolest bits of fan service—an R2-D2-themed bionic arm and a Skype call and tweet from Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill congratulated 11-year-old Bella Tadlock on receiving the bionic arm, which he helped her campaign for during the fundraising process.
— Open Bionics (@openbionics) March 3, 2020
Tadlock, who is from Tallahassee, Florida, successfully raised $14,000 for a bionic “Hero Arm” by Bristol, UK-based Open Bionics, which has been allowed by LucasFilm to decorate their limbs with “Star Wars”-themed art. Tadlock chose her bionic arm to look like her favorite character R2-D2’s arm.
Open Bionics shared the moment Tadlock was able to say hello to Hamill over Skype.
“Oh wow, that is fantastic,” said Hamill as Tadlock used her prosthetic to flash him the “OK” symbol and unscrew a water bottle. “I’m so happy that you were able to have this happen for you.”
“They call it a ‘Hero Arm’ because you really are a hero,” Hamill continued. “May the Force be with you always.”
Bella is a huge fan of Star Wars and asked for an R2-D2 style Hero Arm. We also know someone in the galaxy who is a big fan of Bella… so we introduced them over Skype. Bella, say hi to LUKE SKYWALKER. @hamillhimself 🤩🤩🤩 #BionicBella https://t.co/BU0VMaCcFz pic.twitter.com/DVOIbWnsDf
— Open Bionics (@openbionics) March 2, 2020
It was wonderful talking with Bella & seeing her incredible new #R2D2HeroArm– This is what a real-life hero looks like! Thanks to @openbionics for making this happen & offering hope to so many deserving recipients. #BionicBella ♥️ https://t.co/lhOjygK0ea
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) March 3, 2020
The high tech prosthetic “Hero Arm” detects signals from muscles in the residual limb and has been “completely life-changing” for Bella, according to her mother Pamela Tadlock. Bella, who was born without fingers on her right hand and with her left arm shorter than her right, is now able to “ride my bike, create in the kitchen, and be like my friends,” she says.
Bella has had multiple procedures on her right hand, but she wanted a non-surgical solution for her left hand.
“Now she has a hand, with no surgery and no pain,” gushed her proud mom, who adopted Bella at a few weeks old. “I’m so grateful to Open Bionics and Hanger Clinic.”
Pamela found the process meaningful, as Luke Skywalker “also lost a hand and was adopted like [Bella].”
Open Bionics co-founder Samantha Payne agreed. “It’s fantastic that Mark Hamill, who is a role model to limb-different children worldwide, is so proactive in letting these kids know that they have the admiration and support of one of the galaxy’s biggest heroes.”
For Bella, it’s “a dream come true.”