Dec 24, 2015 | By Andre

Although not for everyone, Christmas is a very special time for a great number of people all around globe. For some it is about faith, for others about friends & family, and yes, it can also be viewed merely as a stretch when work and school is, at least for a little while, put on hold. I myself, in the spirit of Christmas, have generously given my 3D printers a few days off after working them fairly hard for the month of December.

For Safyre, an 8-year old girl living in Schenectady (New York), Christmas has provided her the opportunity to experience an exceptional outpouring of generosity while she continues to go through a hardship that nobody should really be forced to cope with.

In May of 2013, an arsonist set fire to the apartment building she, her father and three siblings lived in. As the only survivor from this nucleous, she ended up with burns across over 75% of her body, losing her right hand and then spent a gruelng 9-months in hospitals while undergoing over 50 surgeries.

Now living with her extended family, Christmas for Safyre is suddenly turning into something very unique thanks to an outpouring of support from a patchwork of generous people. You see, in early December, a supporter of the family asked to share a photo of Safyre next to her aunt’s Christmas card tree asking for friends to write her a Merry Christmas.

In no time, cards started to arrive. At first locally and across state lines but soon Christmas cheer from all around started pouring in. “She’s even had a few from Italy, Sweden, Russia and the United Kingdom.” Safyre’s aunt Dolder remembers early on. “When she opens these cards, the twinkle in her eyes and the sparkle in her smile are priceless.” And then they just kept coming... and coming... American Greetings has alone sent over 14,000 cards her way and as of today (according to the below CBS6 report), it is estimated that over a million pieces of mail and gifts have been sent!

As the story continued to blossom, students from the University of Albany surprised her with a 3D printed hand they'd been working on for months. “You should have seen her face when they presented her with the first generation 3D printed hand,” Dolder wrote on their Facebook page,Priceless.

The process behind the surprise started after Safyre’s family watched a story CBS6 Albany aired in March about the Albany University’s partnership with Google to print prosthetic hands. Jonathan Muckell, a UAlbanay professor suggested that “it was great to see her face, she lit up, I was really surprised how quickly she was able to start picking things up and high-fiving people so it was really something else to be able to see that direct impact.

A benefit of of having a local team helping Safyre with her custom hand is that any adjustments can be done on the quick. Shortly after the initial presentation of the hand, they already had necessary tweaks in mind that required them to take her e-NABLE supported hand back (they promise only for a few days).

In the meantime, Safyre can continue to enjoy the rush of mail being sent her way. Michelle Obama even wrote a personalized letter encouraging her to stay strong and cited her as a source of motivation to both her and Barack. A fundraising campaign has even been setup to help pay the hospital bills and anything else that might make Safyre stay smiling throughout her new life. And if there was ever any doubt that her story has gone viral, the over $410,000 already raised (of a $15,000 goal) should have you convinced.

Even though Christmas has arrived, it’s never too late to be a part of the cheer. You can send your letters of support to P.O. Box 6126, Schenectady, NY, 12306, USA.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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