South Carolina teachers make 3-D printed prosthetic for girl who lost finger in accident

U.S. & World News
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Sometimes a horrible event brings out the best in us.

When a York County fifth grader lost her finger in an accident, she found new hope, through the kindness of two special teachers, who gave her a helping hand.

Some people may curse the unpredictability of life.  It can change everything, with the stroke of a hand. 

But 11-year-old AC Lingerfelt has a knack for looking on the bright side, even when faced with the unthinkable.

“First I screamed because I was like woh! And then so I said my finger’s gone, and my mom, she started freaking out, she started crying and I wasn’t crying at all.”

Lingerfelt lost her finger in a farming accident last May.

“I was really upset. I thought that I was never going to be able to do softball again or ride horses or play the piano,” said Lingerfelt.

But in a world of so many possibilities, technology was on her side.  

She and her friends noticed this 3D printer in Mr. Clemence’s class at Hickory Grove-Sharon Elementary School.  

So even though he wasn’t her teacher, she popped the question right before Christmas break.

“I said I bet you could 3D print me a finger with that thing, and he said that he would look into it,” said Lingerfelt.

“I knew immediately that it was possible, I just didn’t realize that she was missing a finger, and so I told her I would just look into it.  She kind of looked surprised,” said Ryan Clemence.

”At first I thought maybe he would take it as I was joking but when he thought that he could I stopped the joke and I was like Ok,” said Lingerfelt.

Clemence teamed up with Rachael Shriver, a 3rd grade teacher, to perfect a design they had found online.

The roughly $3,000 printer wouldn’t even be here had it not been for the fact that the two teachers had recently taken advantage of free training offered by the state of SC that came with the printer. 

“I was a little hesitant at first, like is this really going to work.  They had told us about it in the training  and just to be able to do it was awesome, and to see the look on her face was amazing,” said Shriver.

“It means a lot really. I’m so thankful for all that Ms. Shriver and Mr. Clemence did for me because I never thought that someone would do this for me,” said Lingerfelt. 

It took several trials and errors to get to the right fit.   but thanks to donations from local churches in Hickory Grove, the school has enough supplies to make more as she grows.
   
Riding her horse, playing softball, taking notes, today the possiblities are as endless as the kindness shown to her by a community that cares.
 

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