Most everyone will profess an affection for Spider-Man on some level (and many of us do indeed like to think we have awesome Spidey senses on occasion), but kids have a reverence for the superhero decked out in red and blue not only because he does good, but because he’s able to do so much. From shooting webs to climbing and swinging from buildings and employing extrasensory perception, Peter Parker’s alter ego inspires and excites.
This is definitely true for Anthonny, a four-year-old from Valparaiso, Chile, whose admiration for and connection with Spider-Man has been taken to a whole new level, and a touching one at that—quite literally, in fact!
Anthony is the youngest of three boys and is a happy, healthy four-year-old who loves Spider-Man. His limb difference went unnoticed until the time of his birth when his parents discovered that he was missing two-thirds of his left forearm. He’s received wonderful care, according to all involved, thanks to Teletón, offering prosthetics which have allowed him greater ability. While the two traditional hook prosthetics have given him much greater user of his arm, leading to the independence that becomes normal at that age, his parents were looking for something more. It didn’t take them long to discover e-NABLE and to begin reading about all the children their volunteers have helped around the world with 3D printed prosthetic hands and arms.
The family ended up contacting a company called Fácil 3D, who spoke with e-NABLE volunteers at Prohand3D. It must have been very exciting for everyone involved when they heard that indeed the volunteers would be making an innovative, inexpensive device for Anthonny.
Considering this all began happening just before Christmas, it was extra special. There were challenges, however. This was the first 3D printed arm the group of four volunteers had created together, and as Anthonny was a couple of hours away, they had to work in coordination with Anthonny’s mother, who took measurements and helped with whatever they needed.
“I was introduced to the e-NABLE Community after hearing an interview from Cyborg Beast designer, Dr. Jorge Zuniga from Creighton University and joined the e-NABLE Community about a year ago,” said Francisco Nilo, one of the four e-NABLE volunteers who worked on the arm for Anthony. ”My team, Jana Smith, Martin Racana, José Melia and I contacted Anthony’s family, days before Christmas to tell them that we were going to print a 3D printed arm for them. The happiness and gratitude expressed by the family…it was the perfect Christmas gift!”
After deciding to fit him with a Team Unlimbited arm, the team worked in two phases—a trial period and a final phase.
“Once we printed the trial arm, the first session of preparation was performed with Anthonny where we were presented with some problems due to his forearm being very small and lacking enough elbow flexation but fortunately, we were able to solve this by incorporating the adaption of a thermoplastic cast,” shared the team. “After a week of testing, the family returned to make some changes. Once assured that the 3D printed device worked for Anthonny and were assured that his family was satisfied with the progress, we began to manufacture the final device for him.”
The Spider-Man motif came into the picture shortly after, upon learning how much Anthonny loved the superhero. The team really went above and beyond, searching for someone who could help with very special customization indeed. After finding a tattoo artist and illustrator named Cesar Castillo, they enlisted him to paint the arm.
“His mom shared with us that since Anthonny received his Spiderman arm, he uses it all the time, even for sleeping!” says Francisco. “We know no one uses these devices all day long, but perhaps the superhero design has influenced him just a bit!”
This is just one more example of the amazing work e-NABLE and their volunteers are doing around the world. We’ve followed them from Haiti to Brazil to Ghana, and truly appreciate having the opportunity to report on their special contests and challenges.
In areas like Chile and other developing countries, obviously it’s not easy to come by prosthetics—and especially not ones completely customized like Anthonny’s. Prohand3D is hoping that other South American volunteers will want to work together and actually create a new chapter so that they can continue this inspiring work. They ask that if you are in Chile and you are in need of assistance, please connect with Prohand3D and the e-NABLE Chile team through their Facebook page. What do you think of this latest project? Discuss in the 3D Printed Arm for Chilean Boy forum over at 3DPB.com.