11-Year-Old Receives Gift of Independence

Community presents Gavin Sumner with mechanical hands
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 26, 2019 4:05 PM CST
Boy, 11, Now Looks Forward to Independence at School
Kori Sumner embraces and kisses her son Gavin after he unboxed his new mechanical hands at the Montgomery County Historic Courthouse in Clarksville, Tennessee, on Monday.   (Henry Taylor/The Tennessean via AP)

A Tennessee boy born without functioning hands asked Santa for a new pair, and his community came together this Christmas to make the gift possible. Gavin Sumner, 11, was gifted his new prosthetic hands at the Montgomery County Mayor's Office in Clarksville during a ceremony he didn't know was organized just for him, the AP reports. "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 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. They have five independent controls to create tension, allowing Gavin to close his hands into fists, Economos said. The hands are made of specialty silicone because plastic is too slippery to create enough gripping power. On Monday, Gavin's family watched as he gripped a bottle tightly in his right hand. "Today was nothing short of amazing!" his mother posted online, per the New York Post. "I am so thankful for everyone who came together to make this a surprise for Gavin."

(More uplifting news stories.)

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