Liverpool family fundraise for robotic arm to help son with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy regain some independence

A young man from Liverpool living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is trying to raise enough money to buy a "life-changing" piece of equipment.

Adam Kent has very limited mobility, and needs his parents or sisters to help him perform everyday tasks such as eating, drinking, bathing, and opening doors.

He found out about a new piece of technology called the JACO robotic arm while researching his condition online - it can be controlled through his wheelchair, and has motors which mimic a human shoulder, elbow, wrist, and gripping fingers.

It's allowed Adam to give himself a drink for the first time in two decades:

Watching Adam trial the JACO arm was his twin sister Hannah, she says it was "such an emotional experience".

But this is just a trial session to test the suitability of the equipment to Adam's wheelchair.

Permanent access to this technology is still out of reach - as the JACO is not available on the NHS, and costs around £50,000 to install and maintain.

There are currently only four being used across the country - though the UK distributor Rahana Life hopes a case can one day be made for national healthcare provision.

In the meantime, Adam's family have turned to fundraising, supported by his medical team at Aintree hospital, who are planning to complete the three peaks challenge to help him reach his goal.

Adam says "The nurses and the physiotherapists that are doing it, they've been working with Covid patients all year, and they're still wanting to help me, even after going through all that. It makes me feel so very happy that people are willing to put their own time into raising money for me."

JACO is fitted to the side of an electric wheelchair and is operated using the existing wheelchair control.

Eventually, Adam and his family hope to set up a foundation to help other people pay for the JACO all across the country. 

But first, Adam has his sights set somewhere a little closer to home - he wants to one day to use the JACO to raise his LFC scarf above his head during a Liverpool game, while they're singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'

Adam is a huge fan of Liverpool Football Club. Credit: Family