Cam’s mom says that she feels like she works for a five-year-old CEO. With Cam at the helm of Different Heroes, this North Carolina e-NABLE chapter approaches prosthetics from a more youthful perspective.
“Because Cam is so involved, we look at everything through a different window. He gives us the ‘inside scoop,’” Cam’s mom Sarah Haight says.
Cam is a talkative, confident five-year-old boy born with limb differences. As I spoke to his mom, he chirped into the phone to say that favorite colors are green, blue, and yellow, and that he loves video games. At two years old, Cam started noticing his differences, and at times, Cam would hide his hand. Then, he got his first 3D printed prosthetic from a pair of sixth-graders who Cam calls the “M&M” girls — Maddie and Madison. “He doesn’t wear it much to do things, as much as he does for confidence,” says Sarah.
Now, Cam has the confidence to stand in front of hundreds of children and adults: he is the little spokesman for the organization. Even when the audience cannot understand his high-pitched little-kid ramblings about his “robot hand,” Sarah translates for the adults. His message? “It’s cool to be different – not negative.” He tells them to embrace it, love it, and make it shine, his mom says.
Cam likes to joke around about his limb differences. Once, he visited a tiny alligator at a petting zoo. Zookeepers warned, “Don’t touch the head, only the back and tail!” One girl said she wanted to touch the head, and begged, “Why not?” Cam jumped in, waiving his limb in the air: “Cuz this!” implying that the alligator had bitten off his hand. The girl screamed, and they laughed together.
“Cam is highly involved in the hand process,” says Sarah. At five years old, he knows how to boot up the printer and computer, pull up files, and even edit files (with help). Mom creates the prosthetic hands for recipients, but Cam helps with color design. He even designed his own “Invention Tool 5000,” as he calls it, which is an arm plate with holes for interchangeable attachments.
Different Heroes has provided 50+ hands and helps connect children to resources, such as camps and field trips. “I can completely imagine how the moms feel because I’ve been that mom,” says Sarah, “It’s so heartwarming to give that back because I know what it’s meant to my son and my family.”