When an 11-year-old boy from Clarksville, Tennessee, wrote his Christmas wish list in 2018, it didn’t have much on it. But he included one very special request that he’d been wishing for all his life – mechanical hands.
Due to a vascular disruption that causes a lack of blood flow to different body parts, Gavin Sumner was born without most of his hands. He is also missing his left foot and 40% of his tongue.
Gavin has already overcome many obstacles despite his disabilities, but a few simple things like riding a bicycle and holding a cup with one hand are impossible for him to do.
“I always try to push myself to try and see if I can do it,” he said. “But, I do take in the fact that there are some things I can’t do, and now I’m having to accept that.”
Last week, Gavin’s family set up a surprise for him at the mayor’s office. They told him that his aunt was getting an award and that’s why they had to go, not knowing that a few hours later, he would be the one receiving a present that would change his life forever.
When they got to the Montgomery County Mayor’s Office, Gavin was presented with a gift box by Mayor Jim Durrett. Assuming that it was just a toy, the look of shock on Gavin’s face was evident as he opened it and saw a pair of mechanical hands!
“This is the best Christmas ever,” Gavin said, smiling as he marveled at the device.
When Kori Suitter, Gavin’s mom, learned that her son wished for mechanical hands, it broke her heart. As much as she wanted to give it to him, Kori had no idea how to, so she did what any modern parent would – she sought the help of the internet.
In a span of a few days, her post had been shared more than a hundred times. A friend of a friend reached out to tell her that she knew someone who could help Gavin.
That someone was Anthony Economos, the president of marketing and product development at Bedstone Creative. The IT company specializes in 3-D printing and prototypes for businesses, and Gavin is one of the lucky people to benefit from their creations.
Economos teamed up with Enabling the Future, an online community of volunteers who utilize their 3-D printers to produce “free and low-cost prosthetic upper limb devices for children and adults in need.”
After almost a year of working on the project, Gavin’s mechanical hands were finally finished. Fortunately, this solution can be replicated long-term once they grasp the boy’s physiology and basic scaling.
“Now that we have Gavin’s files done, we’ll be able to support him as he grows and we’ll be able to print a hand up in a matter of a weekend,” Economos told WZTV. According to the outlet, prosthetic hands usually cost about $6,000.
Gavin, who is now in sixth grade at Northeast Middle, is looking forward to experiencing a new level of independence now that he is equipped with mechanical hands.
“I came to the fact that God chose me for a purpose, and I’m going to live that purpose,” he said. “I hope my purpose is to inspire other people.”
We’re so happy for Gavin now that he finally got his Christmas wish! Watch the video below to see his heartwarming reaction.
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