The Short of It
A Chicago mother and son, who were both born without arms, refuse to let it hold them down.
Linda Bannon was born without arms due to Holt-Oram syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes abnormalities of the upper limbs and heart. But despite her disorder, the 37-year-old mom says her parents never treated her any differently from her four younger siblings when she was growing up.
"I was always expected to do chores and participate with the family activities like all the other kids," she told Good Morning America. "I just had to adapt and learn how to use my feet how other people use their hands."
Bannon married her husband Richard in 2004. When she learned she was pregnant, she was told by her doctors that her son would be born with Holt-Oram syndrome, too.
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"In the beginning, obviously, it's kind of a shock," she explains. "No parent ever wants to know that their child is affected with a condition that's going to alter their life. For the most part, knowing I grew up this way, and I feel like my life was pretty good; I didn't have fears for him."
Now her son Timmy is 11, and Bannon says he's a typical boy.
"He likes being outside; he definitely likes being very physically active as much as he can be," she says. "Lately, he's been referred to as Mr. President because he likes to be out with people talking. He doesn't really shy away from social situations, so that how he's gotten that nickname."
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Bannon says Timmy takes his cues from her when it comes to using his feet to do things, like brushing his teeth, combing his hair, and even playing video games.
"I think there's much more of a special bond between me and Tim than your average mom and son," she told ABC News.
But like any tween, Timmy's often got his own ideas about how to do things.
"I think it's funny because I've already done the legwork, so why reinvent the wheel?" Bannon says. "That's been his personality since Day 1. One of our first doctor visits, I said, '[Timmy] is just so stubborn.' The doctor said, 'No way, your kid is stubborn? I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.'"
Talk about making the most of a challenging situation! This mother-son duo is truly amazing. And now they want to share their story as a way to inspire others.
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"I think it really shows the power of the human spirit," Bannon says. "It gives [people] hope that even though they have challenges, as long as they have a positive attitude about it, then they'll be able to conquer the same challenges."