An 11-year-old Star Wars fan has received an R2-D2 bionic arm – and has been able to show it off to Luke Skywalker himself.
Bella Tadlock, from Tallahassee, Florida, demonstrated how her new limb works in a Skype call to actor Mark Hamill, who first became aware of her fundraising appeal to pay for it last year.
She raised almost $ 14,000 (about £11,000) to fund the bionic hero arm, created by Bristol company Open Bionics – with Star Wars actor Hamill helping her efforts along when he retweeted details to his 3.6 million followers on Twitter in November.
Now, Bella has become the first person in the United States to receive the advanced multi-grip arm, in the style of R2-D2.
During her Skype call to Hamill, who famously got his own bionic hand as Skywalker, she showed him how she can now pick up a bottle.
“That is great – that is so fantastic,” he told her. “I’m so happy that you were able to have this happen for you.”
Hamill then went on to answer fan questions she had about the Star Wars universe.
Bella was born without fingers on her right hand and with her left arm shorter than her right.
After several operations, she now has three fingers and a thumb on her right hand, but wanted a non-surgical option for her left hand.
“I now have two hands – I am so excited,” she said.
“I will be able to ride my bike, create in the kitchen and be like my friends. To be able to bend my fingers and pick things up is a dream come true.”
Bella’s mother, Pamela Tadlock, said: “This is completely life-changing. Since Isabella was adopted at a few weeks old she has overcome huge obstacles and endured many surgeries.
“Now she has a hand, with no surgery and no pain. I’m so grateful to Open Bionics and Hanger Clinic. Bella likes Luke Skywalker because he lost a hand and was adopted like her.”
Bella’s arm is one of several “hero” arms manufactured by Open Bionics, and works by picking up signals from muscles in the residual limb.
The company has a royalty-free licensing agreement with Lucasfilm to produce Star Wars cover designs.
Open Bionics co-founder Samantha Payne said: “We’re delighted that Bella loves her new R2-D2 arm, and 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.”
This is not the first time Hamill has helped a Star Wars fan.
In December, a terminally ill hospice patient was granted his wish to see the latest Star Wars film ahead of its release just before Christmas, after the star retweeted the hospice’s plea for help.