CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee boy born without functioning hands asked Santa for a new pair last year, and his community came together this Christmas to make the gift possible.
Gavin Sumner, 11, was gifted his new prosthetic hands Monday at the Montgomery County Mayor’s Office in Clarksville during a ceremony he didn’t know was organized just for him, The Leaf-Chronicle reported.
“This is a huge leap forward … I want to go to school and be independent for the first time,” he said.
Gavin was born without a left foot, most of both hands and about 40% of his tongue. He has mostly figured out how to work with or around his disabilities, but some things, like holding a cup with one hand, escaped him.
“I always try to push myself to try and see if I can do it,” said Gavin, a self-identified professional gamer. “But, I do take in the fact that there are some things I can’t do, and now I’m having to accept that.”
When met with Gavin’s request last year, his mom, Kori Sumner, posted a plea for help on Facebook that was ultimately answered by Anthony Economos with Bedstone Creative. The local IT company that specializes in 3D printing and prototypes for businesses decided to fund the entire project. Economos helped fit the hands to Gavin on Monday.
Gavin’s new hands feature five independent controls to create tension, allowing him to close his hands into fists, Economos said. The hands are made out of specialty silicone because plastic is too slippery to create enough gripping power.
On Monday, Gavin’s family watched as he attempted to pick up a bottle of water with one hand. Photos show them cheering as he looks on astonished, the bottle of water gripped tightly in his right hand.