Look, no hands! Brian Gault's story of hope ...
Brian Gault who was born without any arms, is one of the 456 UK survivors of the Thalidomide disaster 51 years ago. He tells Inspire how God is using him to help others ...
Brian Gault who was born without any arms, is one of the 456 UK survivors of the Thalidomide disaster 51 years ago. He tells Inspire how God is using him to help others
Watching Brian, you soon forget that he has a disability. He gestures vigorously and naturally with his legs, sometimes tapping the table with his foot to make a point.
He has learnt to use his lower limbs to eat, drink, write, drive a car and just about anything that the rest of us do with our arms.
When he was two years old he was told he would be leaving his native Northern Ireland to go to Edinburgh to get some arms.
“I thought that meant I would have arms like anybody else,” says Brian. “What I got were many years of misery.
“My parents had to leave me in the hospital for 10 weeks. I know now that everyone was trying to do the best for me, but I was just lonely and frightened.
“They fitted me with state-of-the-art artificial arms. I was already able to use my feet naturally. I hated those arms.”
In 1970 Brian’s family moved to the Isle of Man, but no school there would accept him with his disability and he was sent back to board at a special school in Belfast.
“I still remember the feelings of abandonment and hopelessness,” he says.
By the time he was 13 his teachers admitted that his prosthetic arms were more of a problem than a solution. “When I was told that I no longer had to use them I shouted: ‘Yippee, no more arms!’ I’ve never had them on since.”
That same year, Brian’s friend Alan who had cerebral palsy and was a Christian, shared his faith with him.
“Alan said something I’ve never forgotten – that God loved me just as I am, without arms, and with all my anger, frustration and violence.
“He showed in his Bible that God loved me for what I was, not for what I was not and that Jesus died on the cross for all my sins and rose triumphantly from the grave. I became a Christian.
“I wasn’t perfect, but I did change.”
In 1993, Brian watched a TV documentary about Thalidomide children in Brazil where the drug was still being used to treat leprosy. It made a huge impact on him.
“I experienced emotions that I didn’t know I still had. Why did God allow it? And hadn’t my fellow human beings learned anything?”
He knew then that he would tell his own story Look, No Hands! which he typed with his big toes.
Brian married May 13 years ago and the couple have dedicated their lives to helping disabled children in Brazil and throughout the world. Brian also travels around sharing about God’s love.
“We work in partnership with The Brazilian Thalidomide Society (ABPST)” he explains. We rejoice that 145 disabled children and teenagers have received wheelchairs, scooters, computers, homes, and much more.
“We are also thrilled that in partnership with Wheels for the World – the overseas arm of UK Christian disability charity Through the Roof – we have been able to provide funds towards the cost of refurbishing, spare parts, transporting and fitting of 116 wheelchairs for disabled children, teenagers and adults in Kimilili, Kenya.
“I believe that God will use my disability to help others come to faith in the God who never makes mistakes or is surprised.
“He made me without arms for a purpose and I trust he will use me to take his love to those whom he has created to be ‘different’.
“My desire is that people will see something of Jesus’ character in an imperfect body. Yet, in the sight of my Lord, I know I’m whole. Still a sinner, but saved by his grace.”
• To request a free DVD of Brian’s story, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 25 861 640. Look, No Hands! is published by Hodder Christian Books, price £8.99