Emmy Hoffman has symbrachydactyly, a congenital condition that can result in limb abnormalities. She was born without the fingers on her right hand, but in reality, she’s like most other little girls despite her disability.
Although Emmy can do so much more than people realize, there are some activities, like riding a bike, that are hard without extra help.
Emmy is a special girl who deserved a special prosthetic solution, one that would change her life forever — and for the better.
“Before you are faced with this situation, ‘normal’ is 10 fingers, 10 toes,” says Thomas Hoffman, Emmy’s dad. “Emmy’s as normal as the other two [Hoffman children]. She’s just made differently. My definition of normal has changed.”
Creating a New Normal
Ability’s Eric Shoemaker, American Board Certified Prosthetist Orthotist (CPO), is Emmy’s prosthetist and family friend. He specializes in child prosthetics, and will soon fit Emmy with her first 3D-printed prosthetic hand.
Eric worked with Emmy to develop her first prosthesis, which will allow her to participate in the activities she always wanted to do.
“This hand is very simple,” Eric says. “When Emmy flexes her wrist, the cables tighten and flex the fingers so the hand closes, and she will be better able to grasp objects.”
3D printing is relatively new in the field of hand prosthetics, and it’s also an inexpensive and quick way to build a prosthesis. The cost of Emmy’s new prosthetic hand is more than affordable, especially compared to the more advanced myoelectric prosthetic alternative.
So as Emmy grows, she will receive newly sized fingers — making a more capable future within reach.
A Boundless Future for Emmy
Emmy’s mom Jocelyn, an elementary school teacher, recently published Emmy’s Amazing Hand, in part to explain Emmy’s situation to her two older brothers and to the children at Emmy’s school. The book educates and assures, using illustrated images of Emmy doing the same things all kids do. (Go here to purchase a copy of Emmy’s Amazing Hand.)
“The main point of the book is that these kids can do everything,” says Jocelyn. “As a parent, that’s hard to picture when they are so tiny.”
And with Emmy’s new 3D-printed prosthetic hand, that has never been more true. Her hand will not only help her grip the handlebars of her bike, but it will also open a new world of possibilities.