Eight-year-old Hailey Dawson wants to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball stadium this season. Eight-year-old Hailey Dawson wants to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball stadium this season. Eight-year-old Hailey Dawson, fitted with a prosthetic hand, wants to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball stadium this season. (Photo: Yong Dawson Photography)

8-year-old girl wants to throw out first pitch at every MLB stadium – with a 3D-printed hand

Her prosthesis is made possible by the Israeli R&D lab of Stratasys, a 3D printing giant.

Meet Hailey Dawson. She's 8, and she lives in Las Vegas.

Hailey has a mighty ambitious goal. She wants to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball stadium before the end of the current season.

With the help of her parents, Yong and Greg, she's already halfway there. She just tossed the ceremonial first pitch at the Minnesota Twins game on June 19. That makes 15 of 30 stadiums she plans to visit.

She just arrived in Detroit as the guest of honor at Comerica Park. She was even the guest of honor at Game 4 of the World Series in October.

But there's something rather extraordinary about the arm Hailey uses to pitch those balls.

Hailey was born with an undeveloped right hand due to a rare birth defect called Poland's Syndrome. She is without three fingers, and her hand is non-functional.

Doctors told Hailey’s mother that when Hailey grew up, she could be fitted with a custom prosthetic hand. But such devices can cost more than $25,000 with traditional production methods, so it’s an exorbitant sum for most families. That's not accounting for the fact that the children would need increasingly larger prosthetics as they grow.

Yong Dawson wasn't quite satisfied with that. She took to the internet, researching ways to help build Hailey a hand at a lower cost and without waiting until Hailey is older.

That's when she found a group of engineering students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who agreed to take on the task. The engineers crafted a robotic hand using technology developed by Stratasys, a 3D-printing company that began in Israel and now has offices both in Israel and the U.S.

Fitted with her super-cool robotic hand, Hailey's first MLB pitch came in August 2015, to Baltimore Orioles pitcher Manny Machado.

Hailey didn't stop at baseball, though. The young fan also appeared at a Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey game to drop the puck.

So what's next for Hailey? Continuing to raise awareness for Poland Syndrome and for the wonders of 3D printing, while also accomplishing her goal of visiting all 30 ballparks. To that, we say: Batter up!

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