For children with limb loss and limb differences, seeing a doll that matches their appearance can be a challenge; often, minorities are not represented in society and media. The lack of representation can have harmful effects on the person's mental health. This past September, ROMP Ambassador and CPO Rebecca Cook and her Durham, NC team at Hanger Clinic ( technician Sarah Frutchey and clinical residents Claire Vallery and Caitlyn O'Hara) sought to solve this issue.
The team had the idea for a service project that promotes inclusivity within the limb loss and limb different community. Cook, Frutchey, Vallery, and O'Hara volunteered their talents to assemble twenty dolls with 3D-printed prosthetic legs for ROMP patients in Ecuador and Guatemala. Cook's family and friends donated the dolls.
With the help of Director of Engineering Antonio Dias and his team at the Hanger Fabrication Network in Arizona, the dolls' prosthetic legs were designed and 3D-printed. After the prosthetic devices were printed, they were sent to the experts at Ozarks Hydrographics in Missouri. The Ozarks Hydrographics staff donated their time and expertise to give the legs a custom hydro-dipped paint job. They created several different patterns, each vibrant and fun.
"So excited to see this project coming together! These dolls will be sent to ROMP clinics so children with limb loss can have a doll that looks like them." Cook explained. "Thanks to some super generous friends, we will send 20 dolls to Guatemala and Ecuador."
After the prosthetic legs were hydro-dipped, they were shipped back to Rebecca and her team to assemble the dolls using a process designed by Phoenix Hanger Clinic Pediatric Specialist Jillian Okimoto. Once the dolls and their prosthetic legs were completed, they were sent to ROMP, where they were subsequently taken overseas to the ROMP clinics. When the pediatric patients received their prosthetic legs, they were surprised by being given a doll with the same amputation level.
Cook and her team hope the kids who receive them will know they are not alone.