Little girl gets new hand


Emily Hoffman is just like any other 5-year-old girl.

“She loves to run, skip. She lives in a world of butterflies and rainbows,” said Jocelyn Hoffman, Emily’s mother.

Unlike many other children, Emily was born without fingers on her right hand, but that doesn’t stop her from doing anything.

“I got to see her pick up Cheerio’s. I got to see her hold her bottle for the first time. I got to see her take the wrapper off of a cupcake for the first time, and I couldn’t envision that when she was a baby,” Jocelyn Hoffman said.

Through all those milestones, Emily’s mom was inspired. She wrote a children’s book called “Emmy’s Amazing Hand.”

“I wrote this book really to share with others that, yes, everybody is right. These kids are going through everything that other children do,” Jocelyn Hoffman said.

Wednesday, Emily received her first set of fingers. Eric Shoemaker and a group of engineering students from Messiah College created the hand using a 3-D printer.

“What this does is it allows us very inexpensive, replaceable, almost disposable option for the children,” Shoemaker said. “They can break it, they can lose it, they can grow out of it – we don’t care. We print a new one.”

That’s good news for Emily, who plans on learning to ride a bike soon.

“She doesn’t really have fingers to wrap around the one handlebar, and that’s really when we said ‘okay, it’s time to do something,’” said Shoemaker.

“I hope it proves to her that even though she may come across things that are challenging, she may need a little extra help and there is help out there,” Jocelyn Hoffman said. 

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