Extraordinary People

Hero dad makes fin for son born without arm to learn how to swim

A father and son duo are revolutionising how the world views disability.

A father and son duo are revolutionising how the world views disability.

Hero dad Ferran Aguilar was determined little David, now 19, would grow up to achieve his full potential despite the challenges having just one arm might bring.

David was born with Poland syndrome, a rare genetic condition characterised by the absence of chest wall muscle on the one side of the body and arm abnormalities.

It was then that Ferran’s creative side began to bloom as he looked for ways, along with David’s mother Nathalie, to help their child grow up in a home without limits.

One of Ferran’s incredible ideas saw him adapt a fin for his son to swim with along with a belt which tied to the pool so David could move statically and use the water as resistance in order for his pectoral muscle and back to develop normally.

David then inherited his parents’ ability to use everyday objects to his advantage, later going on to make a fully-functional prosthetic arm made entirely of Lego.

Speaking to Uspire, David told us: “My mother used to buy me the Legos and I remember my father joking that this boy is going to ruin us financially with so many Legos.

“My parents, together with my sister Naia, have helped me develop my skills.

“My father had a very bad time when I was born as they did not know that I would come without an arm; his only goal and obsession was to make me feel like any other child.

“He encouraged me to use my bicycle, to play the PlayStation, to listen to music that he played and composed so that I would end up feeling it very necessary in my life.”

Indeed, David would find it necessary and now composes his own electronic music which he shares on his quirkily named YouTube channel, Hand Solo.

Ferran made David his first prosthesis so he could ride a bike without risk of any back deformity and also to develop social skills so he could accompany friends on outings.

Inspired by his dad, David later devised a second prosthesis with the help of his father’s good friend who fixes canoes and paddles made with carbon fibre.

Then just a year ago, when a dilemma arose of how David would be able to park on the university residence, Ferran bought an electric scooter and began to adapt it.

David continued: “He was the one who made my journey known around the world by calling journalists and turning to the media since he knew that my story would go far.

“He has lit the spark that has changed my life, together with my mother, they have always supported me. This is the environment in which I grew up, and for which I am very proud.

“The passion my father feels for me and my personal improvement is so great that it was he who knocked on the door of Inokim; a manufacturer of the best scooter in Europe.”

David has since teamed up with Inokim to appear in their branding and help inspire people to see that sustainable mobility and disability can go hand-in-hand.

Despite his inspiring attitude to achieve all he can, David said that there are still many emotional hurdles and he has to work at staying mentally strong as well as physically.

He explained: “I will say that all my relapses, because I have had them, it was my parents and my sister who helped me to get through it.

“It is important to have a lot of love at home and to give good advice to a child as they grow up. It is crucial to have good teachers who detect bullying in time, like the experience I suffered and was lucky to overcome thanks to all of them at school.

“It is also important to have good classmates who denounce the abuses and rejections of the aggressors, so everyone can take measures to avoid bullying. I am lucky because I have a great family too, they deserve this article as well as teachers and friends.”

Asked what his advice might be to other young people out there who are struggling, whether physically or mentally, David said he would encourage them to achieve their passions by reaching out to others and continuing to follow their dreams.

He said: “Still daydream even if the bullies say otherwise. Seek help and don’t withdraw. There is always someone to talk to, cry, or hug. Above all, listen to your parents and open up to them because although it may not seem like it, they are our best friends.”

This is exactly why David is determined to keep sharing his story, so no one else suffers.

He added: “It is a matter of awareness, no doubt. Surely the annual number of suicides as a consequence of bullying like the one that many of us have suffered is very important and I think that stories like mine in the public eye can help to raise awareness.”

David, who recently completed filming a documentary of his life, said he was so touched watching it back and seeing his family’s reaction to how he inspires others that he wants to continue on his mission helping people around the globe.

The bioengineering student said: “I want to make the world more humane, supportive and inclusive. I know that many people who were ignorant of disability now see it differently. Or like those who felt sorry for us, now feel admiration.

“That is why my main project in life will be to do good with my story and I have decided to create my own start-up by developing merchandise which features my prostheses along with various quotes of improvement and create my own e-commerce platform to sell it.

“With part of the profits, I want to make donations to the disabled people in my country and help alleviate their situation in any way possible.”

So, what’s next for the boy who wants to change the world?

David is collaborating with his dad to write a book, while Ferran has also composed a song entitled ‘OH LEGO’ with lyrics highlighting how important the toy bricks have been.

The aspiring philanthropist concluded: “I’m even going to be a character in a video game. The more my story is spread, the more it breaks disability stigma and defeats bullying.”

To keep up-to-date with David, click here: Hand Solo.


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