It was the end of a late night spent DJing at Cupid’s nightclub in Newry, Northern Ireland, back in 1985 when Stephen Lowry became the victim of a life-changing bomb attack. The explosive device, hidden amongst the folds of a coat, went off in Stephen’s hands, a moment he remembers vividly…
“The instant the bomb exploded I knew my hand had gone. I was so conscious that it was missing I even began searching for it on the club floor, all the time thinking to myself “I’m too young to die, I’m too young to die.” I recall trying to walk out of the venue and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the back of an ambulance.”
During his three and a half months in hospital, Stephen was told that, despite his wounds healing well, there was too much of his limb left for a natural-looking prosthesis to be fitted. He made the decision almost immediately to undergo another operation so as to shorten his arm by 2.5 inches.
“My mind-set at the time was to make sure that the job was done properly and, for me, being able to wear a prosthesis was a vital element in my road to mental and physical recovery.
Now, at 51-years-old and after nearly two decades spent using cumbersome prostheses, Stephen has been fitted with a bebionic3 myo electric hand. The first man in Northern Ireland to have received such an advanced piece of kit, it has been as a transforming as the attack itself.
“Nothing compares to the versatility and freedom of the bebionic3 – it’s opened up a whole new world of possibilities that I didn’t think would be an option for me again. Not only can I now manage day to day tasks, such as cutting up food and driving, but I’m also currently taking flying lessons – a hobby the bebionic3 has improved no end, thanks to its precision and dexterity.”
Keen to share his experience with as many people as possible, Stephen now spends his spare time speaking about his disability in schools, as well as visiting pre and post-op amputees.
“I want to show them that losing a limb doesn’t have to mean the end of the world, that there is something to work towards. The reception I receive from strangers nowadays is so positive, it’s truly given me much more confidence. I want to share my experience with people who may face those same feelings I did all those years ago.”
“Technology and I get on – I can’t imagine my life without my bebionic hand now.”