Community Raises Funds for Teen’s Robotic Arm

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SUNBURY, Pa. -- A teenager from Sunbury has a hard time using his arms but because of fundraising efforts by his community, he will soon have an easier time.

In many ways, Caleb Hallman is your average teenager. He's a sophomore at Shikellamy High School, loves video games, and is a manager of the Braves football team. But in other ways, Caleb is different. The teen from Sunbury was born with Arthrogryposis, a condition that affects his joints.

"His joints don't have the bend or flexibility that other people do," said his mother Jacinta Hallman.

A few years ago, Hallman and Caleb went to an expo and found a piece of equipment called a JACO -- a robotic arm. It attaches to his wheelchair and Caleb moves it with a joystick.

"Basically, with everyday things like eating, or drinking, or combing my hair, simple stuff like that," Caleb said.

The robotic arm costs $53,000 and insurance would not cover it, so last year, Hallman held a spaghetti dinner.

"We had so much support from the community, the school, the football players."

In the past year and a half, many small fundraisers were held using the slogan " Raise an Arm for Caleb."

Hallman was able to raise more than $30,000 by doing spaghetti dinners and other small fundraisers. Then at a home football game a few weeks ago, she got some welcome news.

Two nonprofit groups based in the Sunbury area applied for a grant to cover the rest of the money for Caleb's arm.

"I got word that it was approved and they would be getting the rest of the money for his arm," said Slade Shreck from Spreading Antlers Children's Foundation.

The check was presented to Caleb and his mom at a recent Shikellamy home football game so the whole community could see.

"Very excited, stunned almost," Caleb said.

"It's so much. It's almost too much that you feel like well how can so much good happen, and it's for my child and other people did this for us?" Hallman added.

Caleb's robotic arm is expected to be here sometime before Christmas.


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