Boy born without fingers calls his new 3D-printed hands 'a miracle come true'
TORONTO -- An 11-year-old Tennessee boy who was born without any fingers says he received a “miracle” this Christmas when he was gifted a pair of custom 3D-printed hands.
Gavin Sumner was born missing all of his fingers, his left foot, and 40 per cent of his tongue. All his life he has had to rely on others to help him with simple tasks.
“I would have to have my friends help me get my stuff, help open things,” he told local television station WZTV.
That is, until now.
On Monday, Sumner was able to grip and hold a bottle for the first time in his life thanks to the generosity of a local businessman in Clarksville, Tenn.
“I was just pure happiness. It was just a miracle come true,” he said.
Anthony Economos, the owner of Bedrock Creative, a marketing and product development firm, designed and printed the custom-made hands for Sumner after the boy’s mother connected with him on Facebook a year earlier.
Economos said it was the first time he has made anything like this before.
“His thumb articulation really interfered with the use of the hands so what they provided off the shelf wasn’t going to work and then we realized really quickly that we were maybe a little bit in over our head,” he said.
To overcome these obstacles, Economos spent nearly a year designing and perfecting the 3D-printed hands for Sumner.
For which Sumner’s mother is exceptionally grateful.
“Seeing his face, the surprise and the joy and then just seeing him hold that bottle for the first time was just nothing short of amazing,” Kori Sumner said.
The hands will provide Sumner with some newfound independence.
“Now, that I have these I’m able to properly be independent, on my own,” he said.
The new hands are also a “game changer” for Economos, too. Unlike current prosthetic hands, which can cost nearly $6,000 and are rarely given to children because they’re still growing, Economos said the 3D-printed hands he designed are cost effective and easy to modify as Sumner grows.
“Now that we have Gavin’s files done, we’ll be able to support him as he grows and we’ll be able to print a hand up in a matter of a weekend,” he said.