Students create 3D doll crutch to match girl's own appearance

Updated: Feb. 28, 2017 at 6:23 AM CST
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(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
Hannah's letter from Santa (Source: KAIT)
Hannah's letter from Santa (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: Jill Sanders)
(Source: Jill Sanders)

MONETTE, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 girl, who simply wanted a doll to look like her, got exactly what she wished for thanks to some EAST students.

When Hannah Hawkins was diagnosed with transverse myelitis her family was forced to adapt to a new normal.

John Eric Hawkins, Hannah's dad, said it affected them greatly.

Now nine-years-old, the family has adjusted.

"She goes to physical therapy three times a week," Hawkins said.

It's an autoimmune disorder which causes Hannah to walk with a crutch.

For Christmas, Hannah wanted what many little girls want, an American Girl Doll.

But the doll needed something special, something Santa Claus himself needed help with.

It was on Christmas Day when Hannah saw her presents and found out who Santa's elves were.

"She had read the letter that Santa had wrote, and he had told her that he had contacted EAST, and EAST had helped him prepare the crutch and the doll," Hawkins said.

The EAST students at Buffalo Island Central helped make Hannah's wish become a reality. Cadyn Qualls and Logan Lawrence were at the center of construction.

"So I printed that piece first," Lawrence said.

Lawrence designed each piece on a computer program and then printed it using three different 3D printers.

"Then I used a 3D pen on the last couple to go around the joints so it wouldn't come apart when she played," Lawrence said.

Only working with the equipment a few months, Lawrence said it was a difficult task, but one he feels was worth it. "I tried to get it as similar to the real crutch as I could," Lawrence said.

Qualls, who helped with the concept and design phase, said while a small crutch for a doll may seem like no big deal, it means a lot to young girls.

"I really wanted to do something that would help her feel just as special as she is and just as normal as she is," Qualls said.

Qualls feels the toy industry lacks in representing girls of all kinds.

"It made me excited," Qualls said. "It made it worth it."

Lawrence printed multiple crutches in different colors to match different outfits.

While Hannah was a bit camera shy, it was clear her doll makes her brave.

"It's important that you know, she realizes it's okay to have a crutch and now her doll has one," Hawkins said. "So they match perfectly."

Hawkins said Kit, Hannah's doll, eats breakfast with them and even goes to church wearing outfits that match Hannah's.

The memory of Christmas morning is something he wouldn't take back.

"It was really special," Hawkins said.

The BIC EAST class is in the running for the state's top honor, the 2017 Timothy R. Stephenson Founder's Award.

They travel to the convention in March where they find out if their projects, including this one, will win.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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