Crawfordville boy to get bionic arm thanks to donations

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 27, 2019

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla (WCTV) – A Wakulla County boy determined to get a bionic arm will soon get his wish.

The 10-year-old set up a GoFundMe page and hosted a scavenger hunt last weekend to try to raise money for it.

Aidan Choquette was born without a portion of his left arm. He and his family were trying to raise $20,000 for a newly available bionic one.

Since WCTV aired Aidan’s story a week ago, donations to Aidan's GoFundMe page have soared.

The total now tops $15,000.

Add the money raised at the scavenger hunt and Aidan now has enough money to get that bionic arm.

"I’m very excited that we've met our goal,” Aidan said, “And I thank everyone who donated and participated in the scavenger hunt. Thank you all."

Aidan's mother saying they thought it would take six months to a year to raise that kind of money.

Aidan is now anxiously awaiting an appointment to get that bionic arm.

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 21, 2019

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla (WCTV) -- Aidan Choquette was born missing part of his left arm.

The energetic 10 year old never lets that slow him down, but there are definitely some challenges.

The Medart Elementary School fifth grader is determined to raise enough money to buy a bionic arm, an arm he's certain will change his life.

Aidan Choquette spends time riding his bike through Crawfordville's Azalea Park.

It's something he couldn't have done a year ago.

Aidan, who's been missing part of his left arm since birth, couldn't seem to balance on the bike. Until he came up with a bright idea; he fastened a wrench to the handlebars.

"I put on this. It worked," he demonstrated.

"He was zooming around the yard after that," his mother Sonia Choquette said.

"And what did it mean to you as a mother to see him riding?"

"I was so excited. I was jumping for joy," she said.

Aidan has tried different prostheses, but never liked them.

While surfing YouTube one day last fall, Aidan found the Hero Arm, a 3-D printed bionic arm with a fully functioning hand.

The problem; it wasn't yet available in the United States and its price tag was more than his family could afford.

So when Aidan recently discovered it had been cleared by the FDA for use in America, he was determined to get one.

"It can grab stuff. I'm hoping it can help me do more stuff like VR (virtual reality), riding my bike without this wrench, skateboarding, like basically doing everything that a normal person can do," he said.

It costs approximately $20,000.

So the 10 year old convinced his mom to start a GoFundMe page and the family is hosting a scavenger hunt this weekend to try to raise money.

"We're hoping a lot of people show up," Sonia Choquette said.

Aidan's mom is hoping it can help Aidan do many things most of us take for granted.

"The major impact I am hoping for is to build Aidan's confidence," she said.

Aidan has always learned to adapt to his limb difference, but he'd like to do more like grip the handlebars on his bike, and probably like every 10 year old boy in America: Play video games.

"You see with VR and Nintendo Switch," Aidan said, "those require two hands and I'm hoping I can do those whenever I get the arm."

We talked with the folks at Hanger Prosthetics. An upper limb specialist told us only a handful of patients in the country have received one of these new bionic arms since it was cleared in April and Aidan could be one of the first in Florida to get one.

The scavenger hunt is Saturday from 9 until noon in Hudson Park right in the heart of Crawfordville.