- Age: 18
- Occupation: Student
- Diagnosis: Spinal muscular atrophy
When JACO first came to America, I was there to greet it.
Throughout my life, I'd tried many things to become independent: for instance, I could turn on a sink with a pair of scissors, or open a door with my seat belt and some excessively strategic driving. Nothing, however, produced the full freedom that I craved. I had plans for my life, and they did not include "Sit at home, stay where you're safe, let others take care of you." They did include moving out, going to college, and beginning a professional career. The burning question was how
to accomplish these things. The answer came in my junior year of high school, when I met the American distributors of JACO and received my very own robotic arm.
The difference JACO made at first was marked. I could retrieve keys from the ground, open doors, and pay cashiers without worrying about my own limited arm strength. The difference JACO makes now, after a year or two of use, is astounding. I can operate elevator buttons, slip individual books from high shelves, and perform my own physical therapy. I can cook, clean, and take care of myself. In my most recent escapade, I used JACO to hold my hands above my head and thus get x-rays without physical assistance for the first time in my young life.
When fall arrives, I will be leaving home and family to spend my freshman year of college at Brigham Young University. My goals are truly being realized. Because of JACO, they aren't ludicrous; they're possible. They aren't dangerous; they're natural. They aren't just dreams; they're reality. Because of JACO, my life is independent.