By Jess Grieveson-Smith
A cute two-year-old is making waves in the limb difference community – after his parents set up an Instagram account to share the hidden joy in his disability.
Joseph Tidd, who is only two years old, from Florida, USA was born with symbrachydactyly, a congenital abnormality that meant his left arm and hand didn’t fully develop while he was in the womb.
But after nicknaming his stump his ‘lucky fin’ from the movie, Finding Nemo, Joseph has gathered over 12.5k followers after going viral three times with his inspiring posts.
The decision to put him on the internet was a difficult one for mum Colleen Tidd, 29, and dad Miles, 40 but one that she’s not regretted since receiving tonnes of inspiring messages.
Videoing his meetings with others amputees, the little boy’s strength and determination has taken him to meet Orlando Pride’s defender, Carson Pickett, who shares the disability, one handed Seattle Seahawks player Shaquem Griffin and even a video of him fist bumping a stranger with the same ‘lucky fin’ racked up over 20K views.
Colleen said: “The nickname ‘lucky fin’ initially started when I reached out to my local organisation which connects all different types of limb differences.
“The name came about from the movie ‘Finding Nemo’ – Nemo had a ‘lucky fin’ where one hadn’t grown properly.
“And he goes on to be the hero of the movie!
“The organisation has meant the world to me.
“The day I found out Joseph was going to be born with one hand, I found Lucky Fin Project.
“It brought reassurance to know that Joseph will be just fine.
“Also, almost every kid has seen Finding Nemo, so it is easy for kids to understand Joseph has a ‘lucky fin’ like Nemo.
“Yet it took us a long time to decide to finally create a page for Joseph because we didn’t like the idea that ‘strangers’ could get a glimpse into our lives.
“But there was a part of us did want to create his Instagram account because we saw all the positive that came out of Joseph’s encounters with others like him.
“It brought so much joy to the world, and when that video of him meeting a complete stranger just like him went viral for the third time we finally decide to create an account.
“We knew we could help spread awareness, or simple put a smile on someone’s face by documenting Joseph’s journey.”
Diagnosed at 18 week gestation, where mum-of-three Colleen, a sales director had been hoping to find out the gender, she was left feeling initially devastated.
Colleen said: “I initially put a blame on myself and really worried about what the future might bring.
“But eventually I stopped blaming myself and just wanted to know the cause – which is simply a lack of blood to the area during growth – so I could inform other parents.
” Yet once I realised I could help other parents, Joseph’s Instagram has reached people around the world.
“A lot have people have messaged us saying how inspirational Joseph’s story is.
” The best part is when someone who was born with a limb difference, or those who are about to have a child with a limb difference messages us.
“Most of them didn’t know there was a community out there for them, like the Lucky Fin Project so we really enjoy sharing the Lucky Fin Project with them.
Colleen added: “Joseph is friendly with everyone but he really enjoys seeing others that are unique like him -he has an instant bond with them.
“We’re so happy we chose to share Joseph’s journey because he’s been able to spread joy with his viral video with one hand football player and one handed soccer player Carson Pickett.
“Now my hope for Joseph is to always shine, even on the darkest days.
“There will come a day where he will get bullied, but I want him to continue to radiate confidence as he does now.
“He can do everything we do, just differently sometimes, as his siblings Alexa, 14 and Addison, 4 like to say.”
The Lucky Fin Project – which Joseph is a part of – can be found here https://luckyfinproject.org/ with Joseph on Instagram as @tiddbit_outta_hand