Tommy Can

Thursday April 19, 2018


Long-time Associate Jane Hewitt - our 'Granny with a camera from Barnsley' - has the most wonderful of grandsons.

We could all learn a lot about what we can from what Tommy can.


'That moment I’ve never felt pain quite like it. They explained that our baby we had tried for so long to have was going to be born disabled and missing a limb.

Still crying and shook up we were ushered into a cramped little room, walking past the waiting room full of expectant parents who didn’t know where to look….i just wanted to run away.

We were given a dry, clinical, black and white pamphlet about limb difference.

We were also given the option of abortion.'

These words were written by Tommy's parents who are now campaigning hard to improve the information and support available to other parents faced with what they were faced with, a situation caused by the umbilical cord becoming wrapped around a developing limb.

Tommy was born without a right hand yet his inspiring life has been marked not by what he can't do but what Tommy can. 


Tommy showing what he can.


Tommy isn't disabled. He's differently abled, but he's perfectly able. Don't worry about what he can't do. Take inspiration from all that he can do and works out how to do in a way that is best for him. Tommy isn't limited. He's a little boy who gets on with his life like any other little boy, a life without limits. He can use a knife and fork, he just uses them one at a time. He can get into trouble and gets told off like all other little boys ('Tommy, stop hitting your sister with your NHS arm!'). The only limits he will experience are the ones we will foist upon him out of fear or ignorance or pity.

So, don't worry about what Tommy can't, celebrate what Tommy can.

And then find the Tommys in your life and celebrate what they can too.


Ian Gilbert and Jane Hewitt





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