It took Bryden Zaloum a while to find the perfect prosthetic hand. In fact, achieving the right balance between comfort and functionality eluded him for more than three decades – until he discovered the TASKA Hand.
For the first 30-odd years after his amputation, Bryden used a body powered prosthetic ‘claw’, starting out with a double cross-over harness before moving to a silicone liner which suctioned to his residual limb. While the claw was strong and simple to use, it placed huge strain on his back, shoulders and neck, eventually becoming completely untenable.
He then moved to a rudimentary myoelectric limb, which alleviated his comfort issues, but came with its own set of problems. This stiff, ill-fitting hand wasn’t waterproof, and featured a software interface which was only supported on Apple devices. As an Android user, this meant he had to carry an extra device with him if he wanted to adjust settings and grips when not at home.
Totally frustrated, he eventually stopped wearing prosthetics altogether. Then he was introduced to the TASKA Hand.
For Bryden, the difference was night and day. "There’s simply no other myoelectric hand on the market that can do what it does", he says. "It’s waterproof and flexible, it’s stronger, and it’s backed by user-friendly software and support from a company that wants to keep making it better."
The flexibility of the fingers on the TASKA Hand has been hugely beneficial for Bryden, who relishes his new-found ability to complete everyday tasks like getting dressed, using utensils, mowing the lawns, and shaking hands.
It’s also had a huge impact on his confidence and his social interactions. "In the past, I’ve had people react with everything from pity and caution to sheer embarrassment and even a little fear. But, with the TASKA Hand, I’ve only experienced wonder, excitement and interest – people no longer hesitate to shake hands or ask questions. I now feel completely comfortable going out, and am no longer conscious of the fact I’m missing a hand."
Today, Bryden is free from the debilitating back, shoulder and neck pain which haunted him for so long, and is busy making the most of the freedom and independence he now enjoys with the TASKA Hand – he’s even restoring a classic car!
Jodie O’Connell Ponkos isn’t the kind of person to let a thing like losing a hand hold her back. In fact, one of the biggest challenges she’s faced has been finding a prosthetic which could handle her active lifestyle!
Working with horses is physically demanding work. From pushing wheelbarrows, mucking out stalls and using various tools to the rigours of riding, there are any number of daily activities which could potentially damage a prosthetic. Indeed, Jodie had become so sick of breaking hands that she gave up wearing them altogether – for two-and-a-half decades!
That was until she attended the MEX conference in Canada, where she was introduced to the TASKA Hand. Since then, she hasn’t looked back, embracing the TASKA Hand’s advanced functionality and revelling in its incredible durability.
“Because the TASKA Hand is so durable, I have a much greater sense of security”, she says. “I worry less, and am much more confident trying new things, without the fear of damaging my hand.”
“The versatility is amazing too. I can do so much more now – from work in the barn to hiking, camping and (of course!) riding! I can move wheelbarrows, use a leaf blower, and even do all those tricky little tasks you never think about, like opening a bag of chips”.
The other major benefit of the TASKA Hand for Jodie, who spends a lot of time teaching people with disabilities to ride, is the appearance. “I work with people who face challenges around cognitive function, and a prosthetic hand has the potential to produce either a very positive, or a very negative response from them”, she says.
“But they love it! They call it the ‘Robot Hand’, and are constantly asking me questions about how it works. I’m always being told it looks ‘cool’, and even had one person say ‘how do I get one of those?’!”
An added bonus has been the waterproof nature of the TASKA Hand, an attribute which was hugely beneficial during the global COVID-19 outbreak. “Being able to wash my hands during the pandemic made such a difference”, says Jodie, who continues to attack life at a full gallop!
When software tester Rik Walker flew from his motorcycle and crashed shoulder-first into a lamppost, his right hand (and much of the arm) was left paralysed. He lived like that for the better part of 15 years before making what was, in his own words, the ‘best decision of his life’ when he chose to have the hand amputated.
When Rik was first fitted with his TASKA Hand there were, understandably, some significant adjustments to make – after all, he had spent a decade-and-a-half using one arm. But, in the space of just two to three weeks, the movements had become intuitive and his life had changed dramatically!
"I’d always been very conscious of my arm", says Rik, "and would get very anxious when I had to interact with other people. But not anymore. Now, I find people no longer feel awkward about addressing my disability, and instead are simply fascinated by the technology."
The impact of the TASKA Hand has been profound, touching every aspect of Rik’s life. "I even feel like I’m a better father", he says. "Nowadays, I’m just like all the other dads…maybe even a little bit cooler, given I’m the only one with a bionic arm!"
In terms of everyday life, things couldn’t feel more normal. "To be honest, I don’t even think about all those little day-to-day tasks any more – I just do them. I help around the house, cook dinner for the family, and even played a key role in the renovation of our home. The introduction of the TASKA Hand into my life has been a truly empowering experience!"
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