The United States may be going through political turmoil at the moment. Still, there’s a lot to be thankful for, and 7-year-old Hailey Dawson can attest to that.
The young girl threw the first baseball during Game 4 of the World Series before the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the Houston Astros thanks, in part, to a 3-D printed prosthetic hand that gives her the ability to grip objects.
The girl was born with a rare condition known as Poland syndrome, and as a result, she lacks a pectoral muscle. This problem led to the lack of fingers on her right hand, as her right hand didn’t fully develop.
At age 4, the Dawson’s doctor explained that prosthetics would not help her during development, as she would quickly outgrow any new device. With the introduction of 3-D printing technology, however, Dawson is able to have prosthetic parts created for her that can be adjusted and reprinted over time, giving her the opportunity to have the normal life of a developing young child.
To her baseball-loving parents, that meant that their little girl would be able to hold a bat with both of her hands without a problem.
Still, having access to 3-D printers isn’t as easy as it sounds. So, Dawson’s parents reached out to Brendan O’Toole, the chairman of the University of Nevada’s mechanical engineering department, after hearing about a simple 3-D printed prosthetic known as Robohand.
Thanks to a summer grant, students at UN were able to develop Dawson’s first hand by adapting several open-source designs in a little over six months.
So far, the team has been able to develop eight different hands for the young girl, and they designed two for another young girl.
After using Twitter to let the world know that her goal was to pitch at all Major League Baseball stadiums, Dawson was invited to throw the ceremonial pitch at last weekend's game, according to her mother, Yong Dawson.
“I started crying,” Yong Dawson told CBS News of her reaction to the invitation.
sometimes twitter is really good pic.twitter.com/sWzoEIDcEG— Spooky Squid (@NatsSquid) September 7, 2017
With 3-D printing technology helping to make prosthetics more affordable, we’ll be seeing a great deal more Hailey Dawsons in this world being able to live their dreams.
Thanks to Dawson, we know just what perseverance truly looks like and how technology is able to help us reach our goals.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder