UH employee gives six-year-old girl gift of a lifetime

- The selfless act of a guy from Houston has completely changed one little girl’s life.  It’s all because he struck up a conversation and decided he could be the one to help.

Dahlia, age 6, was born without a right hand.  She’s struggled to do many of the tasks we would take for granted. 

Dahlia’s grandmother works at the Hilton College at the University of Houston and was talking about her granddaughter recently at work.  That’s when a colleague, who is not in the business of prosthetics, offered to help make her a hand. 

“She was sharing the story where Dahlia went to school, and they were teaching her to count to ten.  She didn’t have another hand to count on.  It motivated me.  I knew I had the capability, so I just wanted to help,” said Gautam Taneja, the technology manager at Hilton College at The University of Houston.

Taneja found blueprints for prosthetic hands online and then printed the parts using a 3D printer.  The entire cost of printing the hand was just 80 dollars.  Taneja surprised her with the hand a week before her 6th birthday in June. 

“Oh there’s no words.  I had hoped she’d have a hand before I died.  That’s all I hoped for, so it was kind of like a miracle.  He’s my miracle man,” said Donna Shaw, Dahlia’s grandmother.

Dahlia’s hand will be redesigned from plastic to nylon for comfort and color. 

“Pink and purple,” said Dahlia.

Taneja plans to continue using the 3D printer to make more hands for children who need them. 

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