Local kids helping other kids in need, by creating prosthetic hands

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Kids are helping other kids in need for the next two weeks, by designing prosthetic hands. 

A group of kids from all over Western New York, from 7th to 12th grades, are creating five prosthetic hands over the next two weeks. It’s a program of the WNY STEM Hub. Today was measuring day, so the recipients who could be there, came in to get fitted for their new hands. Three of the five prosthetics will be given to WNY children, the other two are going to kids in other countries. 

Katelyn McCarthy is a very active 10 year old. Last year, she received her 3D-printed hand from the ‘Hand in Hand’ program, and immediately tried it out with a cartwheel. This year, she’s back as a recipient, because she’s outgrown that one. 

“Every time I bend, the fingers would close up and when I straighten, it would open,” she said. 

The students who are creating the prosthetics are learning about anatomy, technology and engineering design. Many are getting inspired to pursue a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) one day. 

“I took a lot of CAD classes in my school and it’s really cool to see CAD software and 3D printing to be applied and used in things like prosthetics,” Josh Arnold, a program leader in the group, said. 

Nile Burgin is one of the students in the two-week program this summer. She’s the youngest one participating in the course, and she’s also a recipient of one of the new prosthetics. 

“I can pick up stuff,” she said. 

Nile was born without the bottom-half of her right arm. Her prosthetic now is clumsy and heavy. Her new one will be lighter, and she’ll be able to do more with it. 

Hand in hand, these kids are helping five kids in need. They’re learning about the importance of STEM, and caring for others. 

The new prosthetics will be 3D printed by a company in East Aurora. They’ll be ready by October. 

“I can’t do a two-handed cartwheel without it, and I can’t do a really good handstand, because every time this one puts too much weight on this one, and I just lean over to this side,” McCarthy said. 

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