GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WYFF) — Students at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville are looking for people in need of hands.
Inside 8-year-old Lily Larimer’s home, finding “Nemo” is not very hard.
Thanks to family Facebook posts earlier this year -- asking anyone for “Finding Nemo” toys, Lily received 71 from people around the country.
Nemo is Lily’s favorite because unlike other characters, they share something in common.
“He has a lucky fin on the same side I do,” Lily said. Lily has limb differences. She was born without fingers on her right hand. Doctors call it an anomaly.
“I think it makes me kind of special,” Lily said.
But not everyone understands.
“Sometimes you have people who are not so nice, or they might stare,” Lily’s mom, Kristy Larimer said.
In April, Lily got a new hand created by U of SC medical students Tanner Karp, Rikki Williams and Dan Strat.
She can now grip things with her right hand and it's allowed her to create a new game at school.
“At recess at school, we like pretend that I’m Thanos a lot,” Lily said.
"This is a huge confidence boost and that's something we never saw coming," Tharp said.
Lily is one of a few recipients of the free hand. It was provided through Hands Up Greenville, the local chapter of e-Nable - a national organization that provides 3D-printed hand designs that are cheaper alternatives to medical prosthetics.
“The prosthesis is body-powered, working based on joint mobility,” Hands Up Greenville co-founder Bree Baginski said. “In Lily’s case, she uses her wrist to open and close the hand, as in to grasp a cup to hold it or hold onto a bicycle handle bar. This works based on tensioning with strings and screws.”
Lily’s hand is also retrofitted with a little bling.
“She’s decorated her hand like the Infinity Gauntlet which I think is interesting because it’s associated with Thanos, who’s a villain. But the real thing the gauntlet does is -- the wielder of the gauntlet can use their will to accomplish anything,” Mark Larimer said. “The lesson for Lily -- I tell her, is, ‘If you set your mind to something, you can accomplish it.’”
“Prosthetics can run close to $10,000, so if you have to buy one every year, it becomes prohibitive, so what they’ve done is fantastic,” Mark Larimer said.
U of SC medical students are looking to help others.
“It’s more looking at you as a person and what needs you have and what can we make that works perfectly for you,” Williams said.
Lily will soon head back to school as a third-grader with a hand full of confidence.
She’s mastered holding cans, drawing and creating a heart.
There is no cost to the participant. The average cost to make the hand is about $50, which is much lower than other devices that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, officials said.
For more information, contact Hands Up Greenville: email@example.com.
Students were supported by Brandon Lawhorn at Prisma Health Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics and U of SC medical school IT staff member Philip Ott.