Porterville Boy Gets Prosthetic Hand from Middle School Students

April 30, 2008 8:30:25 PM PDT
A little boy with no hands and only one foot got a special gift from some Burton Middle School students. The students developed and constructed their own prosthetic hand that helps him writeThe six students had just gotten back from an international science competition when they heard Matthew Lane's story. They decided to help him out. Little did they know, they gave him a new tool that would change all of their lives.

Nine year old Matthew Lane throws around a football with ease. He's playing with new friends who've just made his life a little easier.

Matthew Lane says to the students, "Thank you, dudes!"

Matthew was born with no hands and only one foot. He used to write using the ends of his arms. These six students used leather, rubber and tools in their robotics classroom to make a prosthetic hand to help Matthew write.

Seventh-grader Coral Gardner says, "We just made a rubber mold and drilled a hole with a pencil in it. There's a little button and it's just like the bottom of a chair so it can slide around real easy."

Nick Garcia, in seventh grade, also helped develop the prosthetic hand. He says, "It took us a while to get al our thoughts together on what we were going to do. Once we got that it was all just figuring out what goes where."

Before Matthew Lane received this new tool, writing was difficult. Matthew Lane says, "I get tired." Now, he says writing is getting easier. His parents have already seen an improvement in his penmanship. His mother, Lorna Lane, says, "We're starting to see a difference. He just needs to practice with it more but he likes it."

The middle school students also developed a prosthetic hand for one of Matthew's favorite toys - a water gun. Hoss McNutt, the robotics teacher at Burton Middle School says he couldn't be more proud of the kids who gave their own time after school for the project. McNutt, "It doesn't get much better than this. As a teacher, this is just what you dream for. This is why you teach."

Matthew's been using the new prosthetics for about two weeks now. The Burton students have now gained a new friend, and learned a lesson they'll never forget.

Nick Garcia says, "I'm really thinking more about how lucky I am and more in depth about the world around us."

The students are working on another prosthetic hand to help Matthew pick up things. They may get some ideas when they visit a prosthetics center in Visalia Thursday.


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