With New Prosthetic Arm, Boy Hugs His Mom for the First Time
byKaitlin StanfordJul 29, 2014
Can you imagine never getting a real hug from your kid? A full, arms-wide-open, I-love-you-so-much kind of hug? For Florida mom Alyson Pring, that's been her reality for the last six years, as her son Alex was born without most of his right arm. Of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg, as Alex has learned to make due with just his left arm for his entire life — getting himself dressed, feeding himself and even playing sports.
But thanks to engineering experts at e-Nable, a group of volunteers from around the world who make 3-D printed prosthetic limbs for children, all that is finally changing.
Little Alex can now throw both his arms around Mom as much as he likes — and that's exactly what he did first as soon as he was fitted with the new limb.
"When he hugged me with two hands, he just didn’t let go," Alyson added. "It was amazing. I think this arm will reinforce our 'you can do anything you set your mind to' attitude. I think it will help his confidence, so he can see future possibilities and make them seem all the more reachable for him."
Needless to say, Alex finds his new arm pretty awesome. And that's because it is: It's the first-ever 3-D printed myoelectric prosthetic ever. And the very fact that Alex has one is all thanks to Albert Manero, a University of Central Florida aerospace engineering student who was contacted by Alex's mom last year.
At a recent press conference, Manero shared that his interest in designing prosthetics came after having a childhood friends with missing fingers. But his own mom's encouragement also played a role. "My mother taught us that we're supposed to help change the world," he said, according to UCF Today. "That's why we did it."
And when he watched Alex hug his mom for the first time? It made all his hard work worth it.
"He said it was their first real hug," Manero said. "There wasn't a dry eye in the room."
Scroll down to see Alex tossing footballs and grabbing objects (and more!) with his new arm.