Meet Hailey Dawson, a five-year-old girl from Las Vegas who was born with a rare congenital disorder known as Poland Syndrome that left her with a right hand that wasn’t fully developed at birth.
Thanks to some students at UNLV who built Hailey a prosthetic hand with a 3D printer as part of their senior project, she was able to throw out the first pitch at last night’s Orioles game in Baltimore. Check it out:
The story gets even better. All this started with an email from Hailey’s mother to UNLV asking for help. From UNLV’s website:
One Las Vegas mother might have changed the course of her 4-year-old daughter Hailey’s life with an email to the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering.
Hailey Dawson was born with Poland syndrome, a rare birth defect that causes underdevelopment of the pectoral muscle on one side of the body and deformation of the hand.
The syndrome caused her hand to form with only a thumb and a pinky and nubbins in place of the remaining fingers, resembling the “hang loose” sign.
Hailey calls it her “special hand.” She doesn’t have the ability to grasp, which makes common childhood activities — such as riding a bicycle — difficult and unsafe.
After scouring the Internet, Hailey’s mother Yong Dawson stumbled upon Robohand – a cost-effective plastic prosthetic made in a 3-D printer and cobbled together with wire, nuts and bolts.
Inspired by Robohand, Dawson contacted UNLV engineers, hoping that a researcher might take on the project.
“How could you say no to this?” said Brendan O’Toole, chair and professor of mechanical engineering. “The project combines mechanics, robotics, and we get the added bonus of helping someone. It could make all the difference in the world of making Hailey more comfortable or safe.”
What a great story.