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At 36 years of age, Alex Brooker has led a lifetime with hand and arm deformities, as well as an amputated right leg. However, as he’s gained prominence in show business, he wants to shine a light on disability.
Married to Lynsey Brooker, and dad to two children, Alex said on “most days”, he hardly thinks about his disability “at all”.
However, becoming a family man made him “realise it was time to take more responsibility over [his] disability”.
Starring in a BBC Two documentary titled Disability and Me, Alex opened up about his condition.
Having congenital limb defects had made him worry that his children might be “scared” of him.
“It was a moment I’ve worried about all my life,” he told The Guardian.
However, his fear vanished when his daughter simply held his hand and said: “Oh, you’ve got two fingers haven’t you and I’ve got four.”
Alex continued: “When I was a kid there weren’t a lot of disabled people on television, so I grew up thinking there was no one else out there like me.”
He described his Last Leg co-star Adam – who was born without his right foot – as “the first bloke I’ve ever been able to talk to about having a prosthetic leg”.
“Before that, I thought that we were too different to be on telly,” he added.
Feeling proud “to be one of the people who has broken through”, he feels responsible to shed a light on disability.
“The more disabled people there are on screen, the more likely that is to have a bigger impact in society,” he said.
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“There’s still obviously nowhere near the representation of disabled people that there should be,” he admitted.
However, Alex recognises that “progress is happening”, even if it’s “slowly”.
“It’s a much better landscape from when I first started,” he certified.
“Disabled people all get lumped together under the umbrella term of disability, but of course we’re all different,” he explained.
Congenial limb defect
Boston Children’s Hospital explained congenial limb defects occur when “the entire upper or lower limb fails to form normally” while in the womb.
Most congenital limb defects “appear to be spontaneous”, and have no apparent cause.
However, extra toes and fingers (known as duplication) “may be due to an inherited factor”.
There are certain factors a child’s physician will consider when it comes to treatment. Examples include:
- The child’s age, overall health, and medical history
- The extent of the condition
- The type of condition
- The child’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- The parent’s opinion or preference
- Expectations for the course of the condition
There can be numerous goals of treatment, which can include the following:
- Promoting normal development
- Discovering sense of independence
- Encouraging self-care
- Improving cosmetic appearance
There is no standardised procedure for treating congenial limb defects, however various options are available.
These include: artificial limbs, orthotics, surgery and rehabilitation.
Watch Alex Brooker live on The Last Leg on Friday, November 20, at 10pm on Channel 4.
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