Stephen Lowry, the first person in Northern Ireland to be issued with a bebionic3 myo-electric hand, was named a finalist in the Overcoming Adversity category at the 2014 Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers.
Stephen’s finalist award, which looks to recognise individuals who have overcome significant personal challenges, was presented by Holby City and The Fall actress Niamh McGrady, in a ceremony held at The Culloden Hotel on Friday 30th May.
The victim of a nightclub bomb attack in 1985, which resulted in the loss of his right hand, Stephen spent almost two decades struggling with Cumbersome, cosmetic and mechanical prostheses before being selected to trial the bebionic3 by Musgrave Park Hospital’s Regional Disablement Services.
The revolutionary piece of kit, manufactured by Leeds-based company RSL Steeper, gave Stephen a new lease of life, enabling him to carry out previously impossible tasks, such as using cutlery and driving, as well as taking on new challenges like flying.
Now, Stephen spends his time sharing his experience with as many people as possible, giving talks on disability in local schools, as well as visiting pre and post-op amputees.
Stephen said: “In the early days following amputation I really struggled to come to terms with my new life and the limitations posed upon me as a result of the attack. Losing a limb completely felt like the end of the world, but, as time went on, I came to realise that things didn’t have to be that way.
“Since I’ve been using the bebionic3, my life has changed dramatically and people regularly stop me in the street to talk about it – the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I want to raise awareness about this type of disability and share my experience with people who may be facing those same tumultuous emotions that I did all those years ago.
“It’s so humbling to be chosen for an award such as this – each and every nominee was so deserving – I’m completely stunned to have been nominated and shortlisted for the finals.”
RSLSteeper is one of the UK’s leading providers or prosthetic and orthotic clinical services and a manufacturer of upper extremity product system.
For further information about RSLSteeper, please visit www.rslsteeper.com