WCE 4th grader Tristen Wong (left) and LE 3rd grader Rafael Esquivel (right)
Thanks to the initiative of PE Teacher Tracey Wong, a tip-off from her son, WCE 4th grader Tristen Wong, and a bunch of engineering students at University of Houston, Lakeland 3rd grader Rafael Esquivel III, for the first time in his life, has a prosthetic hand.
Mrs. Wong noticed that Rafael was becoming frustrated and upset during PE class when he could not fully participate in activities with the other children because he had one hand. She began exploring ways to obtain a prosthetic hand and was discouraged at the high cost of prosthetics. Her son, Tristen, made the connection between Rafael's missing hand and a video he saw about 3D-printed hands on YouTube. Tracey contacted the company e-Nable, who partnered with engineering students at University of Houston.
What followed was an exciting trip to University of Houston to be measured and fitted for his cool blue, white and gray hand. "I took my son, Tristen, along with us because he was so instrumental in making this happen," said Mrs. Wong. "The boys hit if off immediately–it was like they'd been friends for years!"
Channel 11 reporter Jason Miles covered the story. During a conversation that was not included in the broadcast, Rafael was talking about his cool new hand. He decided the colors of his hand represented important things: "The blue fingers are for the ocean, the gray wrist is for the sharks, and the white palm is for God, 'cause that's where he holds us!"