Hailey Dawson, a seven-year-old girl with a rare defect that left her without three fingers on her right hand, wants to throw out the first pitch at every MLB ballpark. Today, her dream got a lot closer to reality.
7-year-old Hailey Dawson wants to throw out the first pitch at every MLB ballpark with her 3-D printed hand pic.twitter.com/onStqhEzyB
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 7, 2017
On Thursday, Bleacher Report published a video about Dawson on Twitter. Within hours, more than half a dozen official MLB accounts replied to the post, agreeing to let her throw out the first pitch at their ballpark.
Sounds great! Can you DM us Hailey's info, so we can reach out?
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 7, 2017
We are on board! Send her our way!
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 7, 2017
Absolutely! Please DM us Hailey's info. so we can get in touch with her.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 7, 2017
Such an incredible story. Can you DM us her info so we can reach out?
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 7, 2017
Dawson is spreading awareness for Poland Syndrome, a rare disorder found in one of every 20,000 newborns that causes an underdeveloped chest wall on one side and occasionally affects fingers. The second grader, who is missing her pointer, middle, and ring finger, wants to show people that kids with prosthetics can live normal lives. Dawson uses a specially designed 3D-printed hand created by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
It took several years and many prototypes to find a hand that fit comfortably. She now has six different hands that are made of hard plastics and held together by fishing line. 3D-printing is a low-cost alternative to prosthetics that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. As the technology advances, the price of 3D-printed medical inventions decreases and their functionality expands. With UNLV’s creation, Dawson can do just about anything other six-year-olds are capable of, including tossing a baseball. UNLV continues to upgrade her prosthetic hand, adding more robotic functionality with every iteration.
“(The 3-D printed hand) is operated by wrist movement,” Yong Dawson, her mom, told MASNsports. “When Hailey’s wrist goes to a down motion, the fingers will grasp and when it goes in the up motion, the fingers release.”
In 2015, Dawson threw out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game, marking the first of 30 MLB stadiums off her list.
Only 28 teams remained after she tossed the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game in this June wearing a custom Nationals 3D-printed hand.
Hailey has met a number of celebrities over the past few years, and even got to tour the White House while Obama was in office. You can follow her story on her official Instagram page: haileys_hand.