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Expectant Father’s Heartfelt Letter to e-NABLE – 3D printing ‘makes having a limb abnormality kind of cool’

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A 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand

A 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand

Just a little under 9 months ago, the greatest miracle in my life became a reality. On October 25, 2013 my son Pierce Andrew Krassenstein was brought into this world, as I stood in the delivery room admiring how absolutely perfect he was. It was by far, the greatest day in my life, and my wife would certainly agree – minus the labor pains.

Bringing a child into this world, is truly life’s greatest miracle. From the second you find out you are going to have a baby, the excitement begins. Each and every doctor’s appointment provides a little more excitement, as you get to hear the heartbeat and learn about your little one’s approximate weight and length. Then as the pregnancy progresses, you get to see actual ultrasound images of the baby in the womb. This was truly an amazing moment for me and my wife Whitney, when we had the opportunity to see Pierce’s features, his little legs, and his tiny arms.

One of the first things that doctors and parents look for, are any possible abnormalties that may be present. Each and every doctor’s appointment brings up the possibilities of finding something that isn’t quite right, and because of this, there is always that nervousness that comes with each visit.

amnioticbandOne expectant father from New Zealand recently was faced with finding something on an ultrasound that was not normal. He was told that his baby would be born without a full left hand, due to a condition known as “Amniotic Band Syndrome”. Years ago, this would have been almost tragic news, considering a disability like this would have limited the child’s physical capabilities, as well as potentially cause some self esteem issues. However, today, thanks in part to 3D printing, and an organization called e-NABLE, this is no longer the case.

For those that don’t know about e-NABLE, they are an organization of volunteers that help design, and 3D print prosthetic hands and arms for children who need them. It costs approximately $50 for the creation of each prosthetic device, and dozens upon dozens of children have been “enabled” thanks to these wonderful volunteers.

While searching the web for possible solutions for his unborn child, the New Zealand man discovered e-NABLE, and sent them a very heartfelt letter:

“Dear Enabling The Future,

I am writing to say thank you!

Three weeks ago, at our twenty-one week baby scan, we were told that our unborn baby will be born without a full left hand. The ultrasound showed our baby may have a wrist and a small paddle without fingers. Emotionally, this was a shock that we were not prepared for, however, I am optimistic about our family’s future and how we will meet the challenges ahead.

I found your web site and have been reading about your work. It is inspirational and I am heartened by what I have read concerning the technology, the caring nature of the people involved in design and production and the young children who have benefited. Knowing that this work is happening…it almost makes having a limb abnormality kind of cool. It has helped me to emotionally deal with what is ahead. For this – I thank you.

Kind regards,
“Expectant Father” – New Zealand”

Example of child born with Amniotic Band Syndrome

Example of child born with Amniotic Band Syndrome

Only a couple years ago, this was not possible. Children born without full hands on either of their arms were pretty much forced to adjust to life with only one working hand. This is because of the incredible costs of prosthetic devices (upwards of $50,000), and the fact that children are in a constant stage of growth. It’s just not feasible to spend $50,000 on a prosthetic device, only to have to replace it within a few months.

e-NABLE has done a lot of great things, but this is the first that we’ve seen where an expectant father’s mind has been eased tremendously because of the hope that 3D printing and this amazing organization has provided.  Discuss this amazing story in the e-NABLING an expectant father forum thread on 3DPB.com.

(image source: enablingthefuture.org)

(image source: enablingthefuture.org)

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