November 6, 2018
A heartwarming story of two strangers meeting to celebrate limb differences has been going viral. The video features 1-year-old Joseph Tidd and 34-year-old Amy Siesel who met through the Florida chapter of The Lucky Fin Project, an online support group for people with limb differences (upper or lower and congenital or amputees) to connect and support one another.
The group has a national Facebook page, as well as state chapter pages, and Siesel connected with Joseph's mom, Colleen Tidd, through the Florida page.
"I reached out to the group and organized the first Florida chapter meet-and-greet," Tidd tells Parents.com. "My son just turned one, so I honestly thought this meet-and-greet would be more for me and my family. I figured it would be reassurance that our son will be able to do everything just fine. The gathering was wonderful. It was nice to hear everyone's story, how they found out about their babies being born with a limb difference, or hearing the stories of those born with a limb difference, like Amy."
When Tidd met Siesel that fateful day in Orlando, she says she was "in awe" of her story. "She is so beautiful inside and out," Tidd shares.
Tidd didn't expect her little boy to comprehend what the meet-up was all about, but he did. "He 100 percent understood that Amy was just like him," the proud mom shares. "He wasn't feeling well that day, due to teething, and didn't want to be put down but once he fist bumped Amy everything changed. He just wanted hugs."
Siesel tells Parents.com that she had only recently been introduced to LFP when she caught wind of Tidd's invitation. "I wanted to meet other people who have upper limb differences," she explains. "I had no idea what I was in for! The meeting was quite overwhelming for me as I’ve spent my entire life waiting to meet people who share the same birth defect as me. I’ve longed for and prayed for a community to connect with who could understand this life I’ve been given with both its beauty and its challenges. Meeting other people from the Lucky Fin Project was an answer to years of prayer. I have never been in a place where I felt more comfortable or understood in my whole life. There’s an immediate connection you feel when you have walked a similar journey. It was amazing."
And footage of that connection shows just how incredibly heartwarming the moment was for both Amy Siesel and Joseph Tidd.
"I felt compelled to share this video not only because it was a heartwarming moment for me but because I believe it begins a dialogue about both the beauty and challenges of those with upper limb differences," Siesel says. "When people see a video like this, perceptions begin to change. I’m an entire generation apart from little Joseph. My hope is that he’ll grow up in a world that’s different from the one I grew up in because people will be more aware, more educated, more accepting, and loving."
After being able to be a part of what she calls "a precious moment," Siesel hopes to spread more awareness about The Lucky Fin Project to reach those who have yet to find it. "My desire is also for parents to begin teaching their children from a young age to have compassionate hearts and to accept of those who look different than them," she notes.
Tidd similarly hopes that footage of Joseph and Amy's meeting shows people that "we need to embrace our uniqueness, and stop feeling sorry for those different than others." She says that her 1-year-old "has hit every milestone, even with only five fingers! He will be just fine." The bottom-line for her comes from the children's book We're All Wonders: "I know I can't change the way I look, but maybe, just maybe, people can change the way they see."