hand 2If there’s anything Dawson Riverman has learned, it’s that community makes us all better, stronger, and more capable of realizing our dreams. The Oregon teenager was born without fingers on his left hand but, thanks to loving, supportive parents, Riverman’s life has been rich and rewarding despite the limitations imposed by this relatively rare birth defect. The otherwise happy, thriving youth seems to have been gifted with both a positive outlook and athletic ability and now he’s been able to realize a longstanding dream: To take the baseball field with the nearby Corban University Warrior baseball team–and on their first home game of the season no less.

Thanks to David Sanford, Corban University’s Director of Institutional Marketing and 3D-printing technology, the aspiring young athlete has a new prosthetic hand that will allow him to engage more fully in the sports he’s loved since early childhood. Sanford, who’d been made aware of Riverman’s situation, including his dream not merely to observe or participate in a limited way in sporting activities, connected the young teen and his family with Enabling the Future or e-NABLE.

e-NABLE is an online, volunteer organization that matches children like Riverman with prosthetic hands. The prosthetic devices are free of charge and designs can be downloaded and 3D printed at no expense to their new wearers or their families. Members of the e-NABLE community design the prostheses and share their designs with others in the network.

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There are any number of reasons why children around the world require prosthetic devices, from birth defects to tragic accidents. The e-NABLE community was founded by two makers from different countries (the USA and South Africa) who collaborated to come together to provide a small child in South Africa with a prosthetic hand. The organization has since provided children like Riverman with these new, high-tech tools that allow them to live life more fully. Now the e-NABLE community includes a broad array of members, from 3D print enthusiasts to tinkers, designers, parents, artists, occupational therapists, engineers, and many others who want to make a difference.

Not long after Dawson Riverman received his new hand from e-NABLE, the young man had the opportunity to realize yet another dream: He was invited to hang out with the Corban University Warrior baseball team thanks to an invitation by Head Coach, Jeff McKay, who had heard about the boy’s situation. A happy Riverman spent the first game of the season in the company of some of his heroes.

Let’s hear your thoughts on yet another heartwarming story of a boy and a 3D printed prosthetic hand.  Discuss in the e-NABLE forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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