FIRST PITCH: 4 years after getting robotic hand at UNLV, little girl has big goal


Thursday marks Opening Day for Major League Baseball.

Hailey Dawson, an eight-year-old with a 3D printed hand is gearing up to throw the first pitch at the San Diego Padres game on Saturday.

Four years ago, Hailey and her family came to UNLV's Howard Hughes School of Engineering in hopes to get a 3D printed prosthetic hand due to her Poland Syndrome.

"She missing the three digits in the center and then her pinky and her thumb are really small so they aren't really functioning," said Yong Dawson, Hailey's mother.

They met engineering grad student Maria Gerardi. She and her team worked hard to create a model print it out and customize it to fit Hailey.

It was a very cost-effective solution.

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"This cost, material wise, a couple hundred dollars, where the other prosthetics could cost up to $20,000 plus," said Gerardi.

Haley's story got nationwide attention and caught the eye of seven-year-old Sophia Herrera's family. Sophia was born with amniotic band syndrome and family turned to UNLV because of Hailey's story.

"We saw Hailey and her mom Yong on TV and my eldest daughter, she got excited," said Michele Herrera.

Hailey and Sophia now able to play catch with each other on the UNLV baseball field.

Sophia also helping Hailey gear up for the Padres’ game.

So far she's thrown the first pitch for the Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Nationals and game 4 in the 2017 World Series. Now Hailey has her eyes set on every major league team.

You can learn more about Hailey and the UNLV Howard Hughes College of Engineering here.

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