WNY children receive free prosthetic hands thanks to “Hand in Hand” program

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For 5-year-old Liam some of the small things in day to day life are now going to be a bit easier.

“When he rides his bike it’ll help him center his balance a little so he’s not leaning to the left, swing on the swing set,” said Liam’s mom Kelly Hilliker.

Liam was born without a left hand, due to a rare syndrome.

“The amniotic bands wrap around his, or any limb in cut the circulation in his case his left arm. It amputated his left hand” said Hilliker.

Liam is one of 3 Western New York children who received a free prosthetic hand, thanks to an AT&T program called “Hand in Hand.”

“We worked with occupational therapists around the community to identify kids that met the needs,” said Cherie Messore, WNY STEM Executive Director.

Forty five local students used software and 3D printers to design the prosthetic hands and customize them to make sure they fit the recipients to a T.

“It was very interesting it goes right along with my skill set. Since I love computers and robots and this goes right along in it so when I saw the program I immediately signed up for it,” said Ethan Patterson, “Hand in Hand” program participant.

Student got a lesson in STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math, but also got to be the driving force behind a life changing donation for kids who could use it.

“It made me feel proud that all my hard work is paying off and giving kids another hand that they were missing,” said Patterson.

“It will help him with the stuff that you need with two hands, that you know, he only has one,” said Hilliker.

The dimension of the kid’s hands are saved in a computer, and it will calculate what their growth rate should be. This will make it easy to redesign the prosthetic hands as the kids grow.

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