This summer, three families – each with a son who was born missing fingers – all drove 3-5 hours to meet in a central location in the Pacific Northwest, to learn how to assemble their own 3D Printed e-NABLE prosthetic hand devices created for them by a man who has spent the past 3 years, devoted to helping make low cost prosthetics for those in need.
Ben, Dawson, Keegan and their parents and siblings, all traveled for hours to the first official “Pacific Northwest Fist Bump Meetup” so that they could not only learn how to assemble their new hands – but to allow the boys to all meet each other and spend some time with children who are just like them. It was also a goal to get their parents together and connect them with other parents – who sometimes feel alone in their struggles to help their children face the world of bullies and the challenges that go along (unfortunately) with limb differences.
Each of these children had already been using an e-NABLE device, all created for them by the same man – Ivan Owen, a 3D Printing Project Manager at the University of WA Bothell and also one of the original creators of the first 3D printed prosthetic hand designs.
Ben and Dawson and their families had previously traveled to Ivan’s family home in Bellingham WA earlier in the year – to learn how to assemble their first device together, while Keegan and his family had met Ivan as a Portland 3D Printing Lab Meet-up where Ivan had created his device for him and delivered it to him at the event.
The families all spent the afternoon laughing, sharing food, making new friends and learning step by step how to assemble their new hand designs together. Each of the boys helped create their own devices and the parents who had already been taught how to assemble their son’s first devices, were able to guide the other parents who had never seen it done.
At the end of the afternoon – each child had a fully functional hand device to take home with them, their families had created a memory together that will last a lifetime and each of the boys gained even more confidence in their abilities to do things they didn’t think was possible.
One e-NABLE Maker Volunteer.
3 Boys missing fingers.
3 Families willing to learn how to make them a new hand…and go out and teach others.
Knowledge shared, will now be shared with others and from there it will spread as Ben’s family purchased their own 3D printer and plans to start printing hands for a few children in their area and teaching those families how to assemble their devices and Dawson’s mom is working on getting a 3D printer into their school so that they can not only print parts for Dawson as he outgrows his current hand – but so that the children in the school can have access to a new technology that can change a child’s life.
While e-NABLE has over 1600 volunteers from around the world who are designing and fabricating free hands for those in need – they are also striving to help empower families to work together to create these devices as well as encouraging the children themselves to help assemble their own prosthetic hands.
One of the goals and hopes of the e-NABLE community – is that we not only provide hands for people in need – but that we really enable these families to learn to maintain their donated devices and to build them themselves.
Working as a family to create a “Helper” hand and knowing that they are assisting someone they love to do things many of us take for granted, is a deeply moving experience. It also encourages them to reach out and share their new knowledge with other families with upper limb different children and gets these children excited to learn more about 3D printing technologies, science and engineering.
The more people we teach – the more hands can be created and the more super heroes we can create.
On September 28th, 2014, Ivan Owen and many others from the e-NABLE community, will be holding their first conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD – to teach medical professionals, prosthetists and children and their families how to assemble these low cost prosthetic e-NABLE hands.
We would love to see you there!
FOR MORE INFORMATION – VIsit our Conference INFO page.
REGISTRATION & TICKETS: Visit our Ticketing page.
SCHEDULE: Visit the Scheduling Page.
SPEAKERS: Learn more about our speakers!
SPONSORS: If you our your company would like to become a sponsor – please visit our Sponsor’s Information Page.
Thanks to generous sponsors, families with children who have a need for a device as well as Veterans and Wounded Warriors – will be able to attend the conference for free.
INFO: If you would like more information on this event – please visit our press release page HERE.
PRESS: If you are a member of the Media/Press and would like to be invited to cover this event live or help us spread the word about the as-yet-to-be-announced highlights – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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