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A year ago, the world met Hailey Dawson, a young girl who has a 3D-printed right hand. Hailey loves baseball, and back then, she said her goal was to throw out a first pitch — with her 3D-printed hand, of course — at every major league ballpark. And just over 12 months later, the 8-year-old accomplished her inspiring “Journey to 30” when she threw out a first pitch at her 30th and final MLB park on Sunday.
Hailey’s 30th first pitch
Hailey threw out her 30th first pitch at Angel Stadium before the Los Angeles Angels faced the Seattle Mariners. Hailey had thrown 29 other first pitches at 29 other MLB ballparks, but her 30th was special. And not just because Mike Trout was there, or because it was her very last one. Hailey threw out that first pitch next to Jim Abbott, a left-handed pitcher (and recent guest of the Yahoo Sports MLB podcast) who spent ten seasons in the majors despite being born without a right hand. Abbott told MLB.com that he’s inspired by Hailey and her message.
“It’s tremendous,” Abbott said. “What she’s done to create awareness for kids with limbs difference and the possibilities of using a prosthetic — you can do anything you want to do. I love her message, I love her spirit and her energy, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”
Hailey even got to spend some quality time with Mike Trout!
— Angels (@Angels) September 16, 2018
And MLB players from across baseball wished her well.
— MLB (@MLB) September 16, 2018
Her special 3D-printed robotic hand
Hailey was born with Poland syndrome, a rare birth defect that inhibits the development of the chest muscles on one side of the body. In Hailey’s case, it affected her right side, which led to her right hand not fully developing. She has a pinky and a thumb, but the middle three fingers aren’t there. According to Mashable, Hailey and her family call those her “nubbins.”
A prosthetic hand can be prohibitively expensive. Hailey’s mom, Yong Dawson, told Mashable that she came across an article on Facebook that explained how a prosthetic hand could be built using a 3D printer, and for a fraction of the price of traditional prosthetic hands. Yong connected with the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to see if they could help, and they generously printed Hailey’s robotic hand and adjusted it to fit her small wrist — and her “nubbins.”
When Hailey tested out her first robotic flexy hand 2 back in 2014. Can’t believe we’ve come such a long way. Here she is working with Cynthia Lau, Occupational Therapist from Touro University in Nevada. #unlv #unlvengineering #3dprinting #polandsyndrome #haileyshand #journeyto30
A post shared by Hailey Dawson (@haileys_hand) on Sep 25, 2017 at 8:08am PDT
Hailey’s in the history books
With her first pitch at Angel Stadium, Hailey accomplished an incredible first. Not just her dream, but something that no one else has ever done before. She became the first person to throw out a first pitch at all 30 MLB parks.
When she started her journey a year ago, she said that she wanted to show people “if I can do it, you can do it”. Now that her dream has come true and she’s brought her message to thousands of people and all 30 MLB parks and, Hailey and her mom told Mashable that they have a new plan: they want to use their online community to spread the message about affordable prosthetic hands, and help make them available to those who need them.
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