Little Alex Pring has had his new 3D printed arm for just about a week and after hugging his mom, riding his bike and playing with his favorite transformers – he has been discovering all sorts of things that having 2 arms is useful for!
Today, his mom sent us a few photos of Alex doing things that many of us take for granted every day. Things like being able to carry two bags of “lunch” around at the same time -or for that matter, eating a sandwich with one hand and holding your drink in the other!
Alex was able to channel his inner NASCAR driver and cruise around the grocery store with both hands on the wheel and he discovered the joy of being able to open the library book return box with one hand while dropping the book into the slot with the other.
These things may not seem very big to those that have always had two fully functioning arms and hands – but to kids like Alex – it’s HUGE.
Alex’s mom, Alyson, writes – “He has only had the arm about a week. He does really like wearing the arm out and about because now people are not looking at his little arm, now they are looking at his cool NEW ARM! and that makes him very happy. I have to say, honestly, the biggest use so far is CONFIDENCE! That makes all the difference in his world. He is happy to be different instead of being fearful of the negativity that the difference brings. He is excited to face it head on. He has met a new friend with a similar “little arm” and he is very excited to know someone in our town…before all of this, we never knew each other – but because of the news stories – we found each other.
There are no words for the way I feel at this moment. To see your child this happy about something he almost feared for a long time – is amazing. He used to introduce himself as “Hi. I’m Alex and I’m born this way.” That made me sad that he immediately put up a defensive wall just so others wouldn’t ask that question of “Why?”
You never want to see your child struggle with people picking on him and that is something that he dealt with a lot – so to finally see all of the positivity coming from his arm instead of the negative that he got before – is great! We will take every day, one day at a time – because he will learn something new with this arm every day – not just things that will make life easier, but the way it will make him feel!”
More and more – we hear from parents that the biggest improvement to their child’s life after getting an e-NABLE device – is increased confidence. That they go from being the “different” kid that gets picked on – to the “cool kid” with the arm that all of the other kids want to have.
While it is wonderful to hear that these devices are improving their lives in ways we hadn’t considered when we started making hands for children – it is still disheartening to know that they often feel bullied and belittled by other children because of their differences.
We hope that someday – e-NABLE doesn’t just represent a global community that has come together to create plastic hands to put on children – but that this thing we are….the people we are….this thing we are doing together.…will become much bigger than putting $10 in formed plastic on a child to make them feel like a superhero… we hope it starts to represent a new way of treating our fellow human beings – reaching out to those who are “in need of a helping hand” and being willing and WANTING – to do our part to make someone’s life a little easier.
It may not be a big thing… but to the person that receives the kindness from a stranger…it is HUGE.
“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody that needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks or what they choose to do – but I can do my bit.” – Charles de Lint