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    Posted August 14, 2013 by
    Waukesha, Wisconsin
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Impact Your World

    One-Handed Guitarist Tony Memmel Uses Music To Inspire Children WIth Hand and Limb-Differences


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     KatieMemmel1's son, Tony, is a professional musician in Wisconsin who was born missing his left forearm and hand. He and his wife made this music video for a nonprofit called The Lucky Fin Project, which connects families of children with congenital limb loss or malformations. The video features a song that he wrote for the project, paired with original footage from the past year’s tour.
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    In 1985, before ultrasounds were performed on a routine basis, my baby boy was born missing his left forearm and hand. My husband, Todd, and I felt shocked and unsure of what our lives might hold; but we faced our new life of parenting with a head-on attitude. Somewhere between Todd’s motto of “It is what it is” and my humor, troubleshooting and worry, our son became an independent, confident and talented young man. He surprised even us when he taught himself to play the guitar with only one hand. This year, in April of 2013, Tony Memmel won the award for Wisconsin Area Music Industry’s Singer/Songwriter of the Year.

    Tony and his wife, Lesleigh, have teamed together with a non-profit organization called The Lucky Fin Project. Based out of Michigan, its founder, Molly Stapelman, and its ever-growing following from all over the world, works tirelessly to celebrate, educate, support and unite those who live with limb differences (lucky fins) – especially children.

    Just as I was a young mom who felt lonely years ago, there are many others who initially struggle. Tony and Lesleigh have currently traveled through 44 of our 50 states to perform his music and get word out about the Lucky Fin Project to all. His message is clear, emphasizing “A”bility over “Dis”ability. Young families are benefiting as they hear and embrace this idea.

    Tony recently wrote the Lucky Fin Project’s theme song, simply titled, “Lucky Fin Song,” and Lesleigh filmed this video. They collaborated with the LFP to showcase both the work that they do in their travels, as well as how beautifully our children, faced with limb differences, can live their lives.

    As we often say in the limb difference community, Lucky Fins Rock!

    http://www.tonymemmel.com http://www.luckyfinproject.org

    Katie Kolberg Memmel

    (Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference.” The book is available through Amazon).
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