With Love – From Jen Owen
Over the past few weeks we got to witness some amazing things. In just a little over a week, people from all over the world came together to donate their printer time and plastic to create over 200 complete hand kits in various sizes to then ship off to Johns Hopkins for our first ever e-NABLE conference – so we could teach families and medical professionals how to create them. Seeing hundreds of colorful hand kits laid out across the tables was incredible. To those that participated and printed these kits for us – we can not thank you enough. We could not have done this without you.
It has been a few days since I witnessed dozens of families, hundreds of medical professionals and numerous volunteers – sitting together to create 3D printed hands…hands that are being printed all over the world and donated to those in need. It still doesn’t feel real. I got to meet some of the beautiful people that have up until this weekend, only been little heads in boxes on my screen that I talk to every day and have grown to love as a family.
I sat in an auditorium full of over 400 people – all wanting to learn how to assemble these hands and make a difference in someone’s life. It was incredible.
I can not really describe the intense emotion that is burning in my chest and it feels like my heart has grown too large to fit inside of my own little body. I witnessed some of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen and knowing that I had some small part in this all – is honestly almost overwhelming.
Watching a mother raise her fists to the sky and burst into tears when her son makes his new fingers move for the first time and hearing him exclaim “HAPPY!” – nearly brought me to my knees.
Witnessing a young autistic child born with no fingers – go from hiding behind his parent’s legs to running around the room and laughing with his new “Best friends” after finally meeting other children just like him – was beautiful.
A sobbing young mother wrapped her arms around me and thanked us for making it possible for her to give her child “the fingers she could not.” She has carried the guilt that she somehow did “Something wrong” while her sweet baby was within her womb – that caused him to be born without fingers.
I watched numerous father’s with tears streaming down their cheeks as their children hugged them and thanked them for making them a new hand. I encountered dozens of families helping each other during the day and there were entire tables that consisted of 2-3 families all working together to each create a device for one another’s children.
Some parents approached me during the family workshop session – asking me who they could thank for gifting their child a new set of fingers and I had to remind them that THEY gifted these hands to them. THEY took the time to learn how to build them, spent the day making memories with their children and gave their child something they will never forget. I reminded them that now that they know how to make them – they can turn around and give that gift of “That moment” to another family.
This big beautiful e-NABLE family isn’t interested in seeking individual recognition. We do not want to be singled out as a sole creator of this design or that one – we do not seek praise or hope to find our individual names written in the history books someday. We do not seek to become “Legends.”
We have ALL worked very hard together to create and share these designs so that we can gift parents with the opportunity to be the hero in their own child’s eyes and watch the love burst forth from those smiles.
When a parent sits and looks at this 3D printed plastic hand their child is using to play ball with his sister – the e-NABLE community does not want them to think of the names of the men that created the first design, the men who came up with the finger and palm shapes, the professor that designed the gauntlet, the creative mind that came up with the tensioning system, the numerous men, women, students, parents and more who had “ah-ha” moments that led to a design change for the better or the names of the people who spend hours behind the scenes helping connect people.
When you see these hands – we do not want you to see “Names” – we want you to see only LOVE.
The love of strangers helping one another.
The love of sharing ideas.
The love of art and creativity.
The love of problem solving.
The love of making beautiful things.
The love of a parent for their child.
The love of learning and experimenting.
The love of community.
The love of being a part of something that makes people smile.
e-NABLE is not so much about creating 3D printed hands for people who are missing fingers and arms…as it is about this growing family of people from all walks of life, all religions, all political beliefs and races – coming together to make a change and bring hope to the world around them.
If 2000 people can come together from thousands of miles apart to create a prosthetic hand for a child – Imagine what we can do together to create even more positive change and fill the world with LOVE.
Will you join us?
“It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa