As a parent you always want the absolute best for your child; it is hard to see your child hurt, frustrated, or struggling. My husband’s oldest son from his first marriage was injured during his delivery. His brachial plexus was torn during birth, and it is still affecting his right arm and hand more than 13 years later. Luckily, he still has some function in his arm and hand, although it isn’t nearly as strong as his left arm and hand. We visit the chiropractor twice weekly and he sees a physical therapist as well. He refers to his short arm as “lucky” and he tries not to let it slow him down, but I occasionally see the worry in his eyes when he is asked to do certain things in PE in school or during football practice, like push ups and burpees. However, we are grateful he at least has his arm and hand since many children are born without a limb or, due to tragedy, lose a limb in an accident. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for their parents to watch their child have to compensate for a lack of a full limb. When I saw a story about a little girl receiving a 3D Printed Arm and the smile on her face when she pulled it out of the box, I realized the joy these parents feel in these moments almost outweigh any heartache they experienced before.
Isabella is an 8-year-old little girl from Bristol in the UK who recently received the gift of a 3D printed arm. My favorite part of this whole story is that it didn’t cost her parents a thing, due to volunteers at e-NABLE. The man who delivered her the arm is an amputee himself, 40-year-old Stephen Davies who was born without his left hand. Stephen started volunteering for the company in designing and testing products after getting his own e-NABLE device. He even bought a 3D Printer with his own money that he used to create Isabella’s colorful arm which is an experimental design that she is testing out for them. Her feedback will help improve the design to make it function better, not only for herself, but other children and adults as well.
You can see that Isabella is used to working with only one arm, however familiarity does not necessarily ease the difficulty in doing some things. She struggled a little in opening the package. I wonder if this heightened her excitement, knowing what was in the box!
Because of the volunteer work, this 3D Printed Device only costs about $30 to produce, which is amazing considering many prosthetic bionic hands cost around $15,000 to produce. This is a much more viable option for those in need.
Isabella’s father Matt explains how the design works, since it is not a prosthetic. He says, “The hand itself works through the simple (and slight) bend of an elbow which through the clever design triggers a whole host of surgical strings and loom bands to close the fingers and thumb into a pincer movement. It really is an incredibly simple design but with outstanding results and a very happy end result too.”
Seeing the joy on her face as she is able to pick objects up for the first time, with the sole use of her left arm, brings a smile to my face! Her happiness is infectious!
The bright colors of this device are perfect for a little girl. It almost screams “Look At Me!” but in a good way. Instead of staring at a piece of her that is missing, it’s almost begging for positive attention and asking Isabella to proudly display her new arm!
Isabella’s father says, “The impact on Isabella’s confidence was almost immediate, she’s never been a shy girl but we are aware of when she is self-conscious, particularly in public places where she tends to get the odd unwanted stare or whispered question. The gadget is so bright and bold that she insisted on wearing it to the local supermarket straight after she got it and proudly strutted around wanting the world to see it. She’s been keen to show it off and explain how it works ever since she got it and to almost anyone that will listen.”
“It’s amazing and I LOVE the colours! I’m going to use it for as many things as I can!” ~ Isabella
More Info: e-Nable
I am just so happy for Isabella and the new device that will help to make her life a little easier! e-NABLE is an amazing organization. You can see that their goal is to assist those is need, allowing them to get life altering devices for absolutely no cost! Last year they delivered over 1000 hands to kids around the world for free! The volunteers pay for all expenses in this non-profit organization.