Domestic violence victim raises funds for prosthetic arm

In 2004, Tricia St John was attacked and lost her left forearm and two fingers on her right hand to a domestic violence attack. On October 30, she will be hosting a fashion show and tea party to raise funds towards acquiring a prosthetic arm.

St John has been fundraising for an above elbow trans-radial prosthesis since 2019, when she received a quote for US$93,109.08 from New Life Brace & Limb operated by Trinidad and Tobago Orthotics & Prosthetics LLC Ltd. Speaking to Newsday on Friday, St John said she was awaiting a new quote.

“I’m waiting on them to make contact with their office in Texas. I have to fly there to get it fitted, which would be an additional cost even if I could find the cost of the arm. I reached out to other places but they don’t ship to Trinidad, so it would still mean I would have to go to where they are. The one that I want is a totally functional and computerised one, but I saw a young man on social media who had one that had sensors on the inside that connect to his nerves and picking up whatever action he’s trying to make. I tried reaching out to him but I haven’t gotten a response yet. I’m trying to see if I can get into contact with the person he got his from.”

St John said she was hoping that at least 80 people would come to the show, although the proceeds would only be a drop in the bucket of the total cost. She had raised $30,000 from previous fundraisers, but fundraising efforts had to be put on hold due to covid19. She said she’s restarting her efforts with this event.

“I have three local designers: Denise Williams from Ste Madeleine, Joanne Ogarro from Central, and the person doing swimwear is Sarah Samlalsingh who comes from the east. The first two are providing cultural wear for the models and Sarah does crochet swimwear.”

St John said she had contacted several corporate entities, including Digicel, Republic Bank, Maritime Financial, and internet company Airlink, but the response so far had not been positive.

She said prior to covid19, she would receive invitations to share her story as a motivational tool at conferences, events, churches and other spaces, but this was not happening as much now.

St John is the author of three books: Before me, After me, Now me; Moving On; and Chains Falling, a collection of poems. She is in the process of rewriting the first book and is working on her fourth.

She said over the years it has been very challenging to function with a missing limb and missing fingers on her other arm, “especially as I had to raise my children, and basically to do things that was the norm before I was violently amputated.

“I want the public to know I need the support because there is no way I can earn this money on my own. What happened to me is because of a lack of knowledge and experience on my part, because I was very young, but other than that it’s not my fault. I can’t speak for everybody else but society has a way of making me feel like I’m being blamed for something that is not my fault. People judge you, employers don’t hire you because they don’t feel you’re not able and it really doesn’t leave a nice taste in your mouth.”

Anyone interested in donating to St John can call (1-868) 342-4627 or (1-868) 720-4874, email, or make a deposit in the name of Tricia St. John to Republic Bank Limited Chequing Acct #290 023 389 501.

The event, the third annual Motivation In Motion Fashion Show and Tea Party will be held at the Mon Repos community centre, Tyler Smith Street in San Fernando, Trinidad from 3-6 pm.