Hearing your kid ask for help is like a bat-signal for dads. Whether it’s a scraped knee or a desk that’s just a little too wobbly, dads jump at the opportunity to problem-solve. But when Michael Campos’s 4-year-old son Carter approached him with a problem he didn’t know how to solve, he did what any dad would do – he figured it out.
During Carter’s 12-week ultrasound, doctors discovered that Carter’s right hand wasn’t developing as it was supposed to. Carter was born without his right hand, a fact that generally didn’t seem to bother him. Carter was able to do everything his friends could do, and until recently, Carter didn’t seem to mind that he only had one hand. But as kids do when they grow up, Carter became more aware that he was different from his peers. In one heartbreaking moment that changed the course of both of their lives, Carter turned to his dad, the person he trusted most in the world, for help.
“In July of 2016, I was giving Carter a bath and he turned to me and said, ‘Daddy will you build me a hand?’” Campos recalled on his website. “My heart hurt. Not being able to give your child something they desperately want is hard. When your child asks you to make up for the hand he has been missing since birth, it is heartbreaking. When he asked me for a hand, I responded with the only thing I could think of ‘soon, buddy.’”
The determined dad began doing research and came across a design for a 3D printed hand from an organization called Enabling the Future. After contacting a local 3D printing lab, Campos was filled with hope. The people running the lab were well-versed in printing prosthetics, and they were thrilled to help Carter finally get his hand.
After seeing the difference the hand made in Carter’s life, Campos realized that many kids born with limb differences may not have access to a 3D printing lab, or be able to afford the massive cost of a professional prosthetic. Campos fulfilled his promise to Carter, but it wasn’t enough.
Campos started an organization called Claws from Carter, and immediately began changing lives. A typical prosthetic costs roughly $20,000, but one of Carter’s Claws costs on average $20. To the recipients, however, the prosthetics are absolutely free. Materials, printers, even shipping is covered entirely by donations, so no kid has to go without simply because they can’t afford it.
“I have finally been given the answer to the longing question ‘why,’” Campos explains, “Why was my son born this way? I wholeheartedly believe that Carter was born with a limb difference because with it, and because of it, we can make the world a better place for other children with ‘diff-abilities.’ We were able to take a negative and turn it into something so very positive. I am proud of the both of us for being able to do that.”