On Nov. 26, Faith Schreiner, recent alumna, finally received the bionic hand that, according to Schreiner, insurance once told her was a luxury and that they wouldn’t cover the cost.
“It’s been really great adjusting,” Schreiner said. “The biggest obstacle for me is, of course, realizing my arms a lot longer and also getting used to the socket and how it makes my arm feel...I didn’t really have a muscle before, so I’ve been building up my bicep in order to actually hold my arm and other things with it.”
Eric Schreiner, Faith’s dad, was there on the day she received the BeBionic hand. According to him, the moment was very emotional.
“(Getting the hand) was just, I don’t how to describe it,” Eric said. “It was fantastic. I love my daughter with one arm and I’ll love her with two arms. Given the opportunity to have two arms for her was overwhelming and it made me cry.”
With a cost of about $43,000 for the BeBionic Small, Faith’s unable to afford physical therapy, leaving her to do exercises on her own.
“In order to cut costs, we didn’t do the physical therapy option,” Faith said. “I have been doing my own therapy...At home, (I’ll) sit on the couch and just open and close it to get use to it...and then also I’ve been trying to hold cups and when I’m out try to stop what I’m doing and evaluate how I would do (something).”
Watching Faith the past couple months has been come with it’s challenges, but has been a overall wonderful experience, according to Eric.
“She hasn’t had used that arm in 22 years for anything, it’s been trying for her I would suppose,” Eric said. “The muscles in her arm have to developed, the weight of it I would think if her arm has no muscle mass at all. She has gotten to experience the arm, she loves it to death and she’s... doing amazing things with it.”
A little under a month after getting her hand, Faith walked across stage to graduate. According to Faith, graduation was something that she’d been nervous about for a while.
“I was actually freaking out about (graduation),” Faith said. “I was like ‘I’m not gonna be able to shake their hands…’ (so) being able to go up there and just reach out with my right hand and they all shook my hand and they all knew my story...it was just a really good moment for me.”
The moment for Marie Haba, Faith’s mom, was just as overwhelming for her as a parent.
“I was very proud and happy for her because I knew it was really important for her,” Haba said. “I was emotional because she was graduating, but (also) because she was able to get (her hand) for graduation, it was just a flood of emotions.”
Haba said she’s extremely thankful for the community support surrounding her daughter.
“I want to thank the community and everyone that helped promote this,” Haba said. “The smile on her face (is) just remarkable.”