Life Video

By Josh Saunders


A one-year-old hugs and fist-bumps a stranger after recognising they both have limb differences in this heart melting moment.

Joseph Tidd from Orlando in Florida, USA, reacted in an adorable way after meeting someone just like him who was also missing part of their limb.

He was born with symbrachydactyly, a congenital abnormality that meant his left arm and hand didn’t fully develop while he was in the womb.

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Wanting to meet others with limb differences, his mum Colleen arranged a meet up for her local chapter of the ‘Lucky Fin Project’ last weekend (OCT 20).

In the video, mere moments after Amy Alamillo Siesel, 34, fist-bumping with Joseph, he pauses, and appears to notice that just like him she is unique too.

The little lad, who turned one in September, looks directly at Amy and waddles over with his arms outstretched to embrace the stranger.

His parents and Amy believe Joseph understood their shared difference and the footage, since being shared online is quickly approaching 10,000 views.

Amy, a stay-at-home-mum and teachers aid, said: “I wanted to see if he had the recognition that our arms were similar, and he seemed to really understand.

“I asked him for a fist bump he gave that to me. So when my husband grabbed the camera and started filming, all I expected was for us to get that on camera.

“It was like he truly understood in that moment who I was in relation to him and that we had a connection.

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“Even as small as he is, it was visible we were the same, it was like he said, ‘I just want to come snuggle you’ and make that connection.

“When he started walking to me I melted into a million pieces, in that moment it was clear at his young age that him and I shared something.

“His arm and my arm were the same. It amazed me that at his age, it was visible that he understood what was going on.

“It left me in a flood of emotions, I think it was truly one of the sweetest moments in my entire life.

“It was so innocent and so clear that he really understood our connection, it brings me to tears thinking about it. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful.”

Joseph’s parents, Colleen and Miles, were told he would be born with a limb difference during the pregnancy after their 18-week scan.

They are determined that there is ‘nothing he won’t be able to do’.

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Mum-of-three Colleen, a sales director, said: “When that happened with Amy, it was like something just clicked and he knew that she was like him, instantly he reached for a hug.

“I was in complete shock, I kept looking at my husband saying, ‘Do you see this?’ I was very happy. It was like he truly understood what was going on.

“When we watched the video, my husband said, ‘I think he needed that hug too’.

“A lot of people have told us they had happy tears after seeing it.

“I rarely have that thought my son won’t be able to do anything, because of the Lucky Fin Project.”

Amy was born with a limb difference and damage to her spinal cord, as an unexpected side effect of her mother taking anti-sickness medication during pregnancy.

She moved from Orizaba, Mexico, to the USA for treatment and over the years has seen people’s perceptions of differences change.

Amy remembers the challenges she faced growing up when children excluded her from playing with them because she only had one hand.

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She was told she belonged in the circus or teased for the way her arm looked.

Even as an adult the bullying didn’t stop.

Amy had a coworker state that she should be forced to wear sweaters because it made people uncomfortable to look at when she gestured with her arm.

But for every negative experience, Amy recalls those who accepted her and loved her for who she was.

She said: “I was fortunate to find friends and classmates who championed my cause and became protective of me.

“For every negative experience with bullying I was blessed to find the goodness in humanity, as well.

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“The more society learns about acceptance and kindness and love the better the experiences will be for the next generation of children with limb differences.

“And finding a community like Lucky Fin helps to support you through the tough times when people are less than accepting.

‘It’s about building a support system and walking through these experiences, both good and bad, together.”

But experiencing such a sweet moment with Joseph, has helped to heal some of the wounds from Amy’s younger years, along with a general change in perception around having a difference.

She said: “I dreamed for my whole life that people would be so accepting and loving and see differences as a positive, not a negative.

“That true moment of connection was so unexpected, as you can see in my response, it was heart melting and took me by surprise.

“It was so sweet and was one of those moments you couldn’t have created if you tried to, it was spontaneous, so genuine, so real, and heartfelt.”

Lucky Fin Project helps to connect people with limb differences and their families, as well as offering financial support for children to obtain prosthetics, visit camps and more.

The organisation, that bears the tag line ‘Ten fingers are overrated’, was founded by Molly Stapelman after she struggled to find information about limb differences.

For more information visit: www.luckyfinproject.org.