A Library, a 3-D Printer and Volunteers Create Prosthetic for Little Girl: 'It's My New Hand!'
A little girl who needed a hand got exactly that, courtesy of a public library in Texas.
Five-year-old Katelyn Vincik was born without a left hand, and for more than a year, her parents have been trying to get her a prosthetic one.
But the family has been languishing on a waiting list while Katelyn grew impatient, resorting to prayer for a device that would leave her with two hands.
Her mother, Kimberly, took to the internet, searching everything she could find for an answer to her daughter’s prayers.
She also found the innovation lab at Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library, which runs a 3-D printer that is open to the public.
Lab trainer Patrick Ferrell got a call from Kimberly, who wanted to know if the lab could work with e-NABLE and designer TeamUnlimbited to make a hand for her daughter.
Ferrell knew nothing about prosthetics, he told InsideEdition.com, but he was willing to try. He assembled a group of volunteers who worked off e-NABLE and Team Unlimbited software designs.
Using Katelyn’s arm measurements, they were able to build, over the course of two months, a plastic prosthetic arm with a hand that opens and closes.
Total cost for the raw materials? Fifty bucks. Far cheaper than the most basic hand prosthesis, which cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
Ferrell was anxious as he delivered the new device – made in Katelin’s favorite colors of pink and purple – to the little girl, whose entire extended family was assembled to watch her reaction.
“I was nervous. I don’t like to be in the habit of disappointing 5-year-old girls,” he said.
He fretted the hand might not fit or work properly. What if she put it on and it fell apart?
None of those things happened. What did occur was an ecstatic cry from a very excited child.
“My new hand!” Katelyn exclaimed.
“She just undid all the straps and she put it on, like she’d had one all her life,” Ferrell said.
“She told her little sister, ‘Now we can hold hands.’’’
As Katelyn grows, she will need new prosthetics. Ferrell hopes she joins the team.
“Maybe she will design her arm herself,” he said.