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Teachers use 3-D printer to make prosthetic arm for student

Posted at 7:26 AM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-05 08:28:54-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A young girl born without an arm now has a prosthetic one after teachers at Sunshine Elementary in Lehigh Acres went above and beyond to make an arm just for her.

It's a dream come true for student Dulce Jaimes.  "I didn't know what was happening until Mr. Demeri showed up."

The third grader was born without a half an arm, but recently received a prosthetic one after her teacher decided to use a 3-D printer to make one. 

"She was perfect before the arm," says teacher Rachel Canino.  "Now that she has the arm, she's celebrity."

A celebrity who's an extra helping hand for her family.  "I can help my mom out with my brother," says Dulce.  "When I get two yogurts because they're small, I let the other one carry it and I hold the other one." 

Eric Demeri, who made Dulce's arm, started the 3-D printing lab back in the fall.  He says originally it was for printing things like pencil holders. 

But after getting word of Dulce's situation he was up for the challenge of something bigger.

Eric says he had never printed something that took over 6 hours. But Dulce's arm took nearly 40 hours, with some failed attempts. 

But eventually he says, he got it right.  "When i actually got it to work and i had my daughter testing it out, I'm like ‘this is going to be, this is going to be pretty big for Dulce.’"

Now she's lifting water bottles, pencils and pretty much anything she can get her hands on.

She's only got one message for her teachers. "It was really nice of you," she says.  "I was excited, and thank you Mr. Demeri." 

Dulce's teachers say she was accepted into a camp for special needs kids that she'll be going to in the summer.