HOUSTON - It doesn't take a superhero to pick up a pencil, hold a baseball bat or use a pair of scissors, but the ability to do those things means the world to a child born without a hand.
In an effort to save the universe, "Marvel Universe Live!" actors, Rice University engineering students and Shriners Hospital are starting with the youngest generation. They're giving 3D-printed hands to kids who were born without them.
The project saves the patients' families thousands of dollars in the cost of prosthetics.
"If I was going to grab that or this pen, then I have to go like that," Nathan Renovatl said, demonstrating a twisting motion just to hold a pen and expressing how much he looks forward to one day holding a baseball bat.
"There's a superhero in all of us, so they personify it as being big tough characters but the kids are superheroes because they've overcome so much. These are children that were born without fingers, without hands," Dr. Gloria Gogola, Shriners pediatric hand surgeon, said.
Superheroes were capturing kids' hearts on Thursday, but there's no grip stronger than a father's love for his daughter.
"I came here so I can get a better idea, because I already have the printer in my house," said Salvador Castro. "When we came to the doctor last week he told me I could get an idea to build something better for my daughter."
Castro memorized each step in order to recreate the 3D hands at home for his daughter, Jessica, so she will never be without one again.
"So if anything breaks, anything happens, they know exactly how they got put together," Gogola said.
According to Gogola, Shriners holds similar clinics monthly. Details can be found at the Shriners Hospital website.
Directions on how to make the hands are free online at E-nabling The Future.
Eight families took home 3D printed hands.
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