Boys born without arms

PHOTO: Boys born without arms

One out of every 2,000 babies is born without a limb or body-part at birth.

The condition, known as congenital amputation, has no single cause. One common cause is amniotic band syndrome, where the inner fetal membrane ruptures and gets entangled around the fetus. The fibrous bands of the membrane can get wrapped around the limbs of the fetus, constricting the blood supply and leading to an accidental amputation in the womb.

Exposure to environmental chemicals has also been known to cause such defects. Famously in the 1960s, tranquilizers containing the drug thalidomide were given to pregnant women, which resulted in a drastic hike in the number of babies born with limb deformities.

While some children are born with just part of a finger missing, others are less fortunate.

Meet Fernando Cruz Vega, a 3-year-old boy who was born with his upper limbs missing. Hoping for a better life for her son, his mother Deysi Vega has travelled from Mollobamba in the jungles of Peru to Lima to seek medical help and rehabilitation therapies for his condition.

Although medical advances offer little reprieve other than prosthetic limbs and therapy, children have been found to be extraordinarily good at learning to compensate for missing limb by finding other means to accomplish tasks.

Already Fernando is able to deftly handle a pen with the toes of his feet. Ali Srour, a year-old boy similarly born with stumps instead of arms, has learnt how to eat and even play computer games using his feet.

Motivational speaker Nick Vujicic uses his disability to offer hope to people all over the world that they can get past massive challenges in life. Now 28 years old, the limbless young man has obtained a double Bachelor's degree and plays football, golfs, swims and surfs regularly, showing the world what determination can overcome.