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Colorado Springs man creates 3D printed prosthetics for kids for free

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Dakota Welch wants people to know that he's willing to help, no matter the hand you're originally dealt.

"We have helped eleven children and one adult," said the Colorado Springs father of three.

Welch started Creation Station out of his basement two years ago, a non-profit dedicated to making prosthetic hands and arms for kids from families who can't otherwise afford them.

"I told my pastor about it, pastor John Bornschein of Calvary Fellowship and he said 'yeah, let's turn this into a ministry,' and boom it just exploded from there," he said.

It's still a relatively small endeavor, one of which Welch does during his free time, but one that's picked up steam since an anonymous donor gave him a large, new 3D printer.

"I do this on my off time so generally less than a week, print everything out, assemble it, test fit and then ship it on out," said Welch.

"We're digital humanitarians who just want to help."

Welch runs a literal philanthropic arms race, one that families across the country have been eager to jump on considering a new prosthetic for a child can run anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000. Pediatric prosthetics need to be replaced every couple of years and they're typically not covered by health insurance. Therefore it's easy to see why most families can't afford them.

"Creation Station was the one that stepped up and volunteered to do it, within hours really, and so it was a blessing. It was great," said Wes Simmons, a father from Lenexa, KS who reached out on behalf of his 11-year-old daughter, Bridget.

"You can't really put a price tag on it, ya know. This is giving her the opportunity to really try having a hand, something that she's never had before now," said Simmons.

Born without a right hand due to a "vascular accident," living with a right hand for the first time has changed Bridget's life.

"I think it is amazing because I can grab things, do things I've never been able to do before with my right hand," said Bridget.

"I am so thankful and grateful for the organization. It opened up a whole new world for me," she said.

Erica, Bridget's mother, has been overwhelmed.

"Watching her face light up, when she made the heart, she said, 'I've always wanted to make a heart.' That was a little, yeah, that one tugs at ya a little bit," she said.

And as they do for every family, Creation Station didn't charge the Simmons' a dime.

“Until something else calls me over I think this is going to be a permanent ministry," said Welch.

All Welch needs to make a prosthetic is a picture of the child's hand or arm next to a ruler. He uses the measurements in the picture to type into his computer software program, along with help from E-Nable, which then relays the information to the 3D printer. A prosthetic can be made in a matter of hours. Assembly takes an extra day or two.

As for Bridget, she's thilled to have a right hand for the first time, but also wants people to know she's just as proud of the hand she was born with.

"It's cool that it makes me different," she said. "And I like it because I can do anything that anyone else can do with it.  I figured out my own ways. But I'm not embarrassed about it at all and I don't think anyone else with a hand like mine should be either."

Welch says he also hopes to get into making assisted living devices. He’s always looking for people to help: kids, adults, and veterans. Just go to CreationStation3D.com to learn more.

Absolutely Colorado / Colorado Springs / Health / Local News

Josh Helmuth

Josh is an anchor for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Josh here.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. “I do this on my off time”

    What an amazing hobby! Keep up the fantastic work. Mr. Welch!

  2. Now this is awesome… I wish so much that I could have 10% other compassion that this man has….

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