For young James Quinn, it’s a helping hand like no other.
The four-year-old boy has been given a Batman-inspired prosthetic hand, thanks to an innovative and environmentally-friendly organisation based in the west.
James, who was born with an underdeveloped hand, was last week presented with a plastic “Phoenix Hand” which will assist him in learning how to manipulate his hand muscles and provide mobility support.
The Phoenix Hand was created at the Werribee-based Envision Hands, a joint venture between charity Envision and the Wyndham Rotary Club.
The project turns recycled plastic bottle caps into prosthetic arms and hands for children around the world.
Envision Hands is aiming to collect one million bottle tops and turn them into 100 prosthetic hands and arms before the end of the year. The initiative, a world-first, involves the plastic from donated bottle caps being turned into material used to create parts for a custom-made artificial limb, via a 3D printer.
The Coca-Cola Foundation has provided Envision Hands with a grant to purchase a “Shruder”, a plastic shredding machine created by Plastic Collective, so they can shred the bottle tops.
James’ mother Melissa Quinn said their family found out about the Envision Hands project after a breakfast lady from her son’s kindergarten contacted the project’s founder, Sean Teer, on their behalf.
“Sean said that he and Joe (project co-ordinator Joe Ferlazzo) would love to meet all of us, measure James up for a prosthetic hand and we did just that,” she said.
Mrs Quinn said that the Envision Hands team had visited the kindergarten, and their family’s Melton home, to measure and fit James’ prosthetic. Mrs Quinn said James was “a massive superhero fan” and that he had described his Batman-inspired hand as “brilliant”.
“James is such a smart, confident boy and we only want to see his confidence keep growing as he gets older,” she said.
“We hope that by having this prosthetic it will allow him to stay confident and the cool factor of it being a superhero hand will help the way other kids interact with James as well.”
Envision has set up webpage to raise funds. See https://www.gofundme.com/f/envision-hands for details.