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

Posted: 6:26 AM, Apr 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-05 16:15:24-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A young girl born without an arm now has a prosthetic one after teachers at Sunshine Elementary in Lehigh Acres made 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," Dulce said. 

The third grader was born without 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," teacher Rachel Canino said.  "Now that she has the arm, she's a celebrity."

A celebrity who's an extra helping hand for her family.  "I can help my mom out with my brother," Dulce said. "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 said originally the lab was for printing things like pencil holders. 

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

Demeri said he had never printed something that took more than six hours. But Dulce's arm took nearly 40 hours, with some failed attempts. 

Eventually, 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,’" he said.

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

She said she was thankful.

"It was really nice of you," she said.  "I was excited, and thank you Mr. Demeri."