Nine years ago, a boy named Shayaan was born without arms. Now, it would seem that his mother’s recognizing and reaching out to the power of new technology originating from a company created in her home country is offering her son a real way to perform so many of the tasks we take for granted on a constant basis, as well as giving him the one thing every mother strives to see in her child: happiness.
Born with dysmelia, a rare disorder which causes limb deficiencies to form in the womb, Shayaan has been celebrated by his family since birth with a focus on all the wonders he does possess, rather than what he may lack physically. As for his mother, she was of course shocked to find that he had been born without two arms, but with the support of her family and her faith to lean on at the time of her baby’s birth, Fadia Haroon was able to turn what could have been a long time of sorrow and distress into deep appreciation and love for the miracle that was Shayaan.
Shayaan learned how to do everything through working with his feet. From eating and drinking to swimming and playing with Legos or on the computer, he was indeed doing everything typical of a boy his age, but certainly not in a typical way. And while he had done the work necessary to master the enormous challenge of dysmelia, his mother wanted to find a prosthetic that could work as a useful tool to offer Shayaan greater efficiency—and ease—in performing activities of daily living.
“On 11th December 2006 I had my second child. My son Shayaan, was born that day bringing with him shock, disbelief and unimaginable pain. He was born with no arms. We were all mourning instead of celebrating the new addition in the family. While the whole family cried, my older son Sheheryar (6 at the time) accepted his younger brother with open arms and an open heart!” Fadia said in a previous interview.
“Sheheryar showed me all the body parts that Shayaan had, rather than focusing on the ones he did not. I then looked at my baby for hours concentrating on his tiny eyelids and ears that showed the most intricate network of capillaries and wondered how the creator could miss making his arms? How could he forget and how could he make a mistake?” she asked.
As she searched for a first in giving her son the benefits of progressive prosthetics, Fadia (originally from Pakistan, but now living in Bahrain) ultimately turned to Xplorer 3D. A tech company in their own right, as well as an authorized partner for brands like FlashForge, Shining 3D & Creatbot for Pakistan and the Middle Eastern region, we know Xplorer as the first 3D printer manufacturer from Pakistan, and a key player as one of their 3D printers was responsible for helping the first child in Pakistan to receive a 3D printed prosthetic hand. Five-year-old Mir Bayyaan Baloch had been born without his right hand, and as his family reached out to both Team Unlimbited and Bioniks, a prosthetic was created on an Xplorer 3D printer at NED University of Engineering and Technology.
A friend of Fadia’s sent her the video coverage of Mir Bayaan and his 3D printed arm, and she was inspired to find out more. She contacted Xplorer 3D regarding her own son’s needs in terms of above the elbow deficiencies. Headquartered in Dubai now, Xplorer 3D has a health care department completely dedicated to research and development for 3D printing in health care with the use of prosthetics and other medical devices, as well as training in the use of 3D printing within that field. Fadia contacted Xplorer 3D – Health:
“I got in touch with Tayyab Alam (CEO of Xplorer 3D),” said Fadia. “Since we were in Bahrain and Tayyab in Karachi at the time, he asked me to send him videos of Shayaan writing and eating. He also asked me to send him measurements of his arm.
“I was more interested in a useful tool rather and an arm with fingers. Tayyab assured that he would work on a design that would hold a spoon, a comb and a pencil since these were the three major things that Shayaan needed support in.”
Alam actually came to Bahrain last month and stayed for four days as he designed a 3D printing prosthetic ‘tool’ for the nine-year-old, featuring custom attachments that are lightweight and adjustable.
“The day Shayaan tried out the tool he had the biggest smile on his face. He combed his hair, ate food and wrote his name. He loved it.” said Fadia. “I loved seeing my son happy. Tayyab’s design was a work of ingenuity and artistic creativity. Shayaan is now practicing using it with his physiotherapists.”
The prosthetic device offers Shayaan multiple opportunities for better efficiency, and is certainly the first of its kind for above the elbow deficiencies, featuring removable magnetic extensions. Shayaan is currently enjoying getting used to it, according to Fadia, as well as seeing all the things he can use it for with so many tools, including:
- Keyboard finger for typing
- Capacitive stylus extensions (for using touch enabled devices).
This new prosthetic device—a big step—is just one more way that Fadia and her family are able to celebrate Shayaan and the challenges he’s overcome with the support of his relatives and friends. Fadia also runs a support group called the Special Families Support Group (SFS), allowing her to connect with other inspiring parents and children.
And as we are inspired by this story—along with numerous others regarding 3D printed prosthetics—it’s important for all of us to take this mother’s words to heart, as her wisdom can apply to many other aspects of life as well. We look forward to hearing more about Shayaan’s progress, as well as that of Xplorer 3D Health, which also offers training programs in 3D printing for the medical field.Saffron Insider]