Girl gets new hand, new grasp on life

Posted at 10:02 AM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-10 12:02:48-04

Click here for updates on this story

    Ogden, UT (KSL) — Andi Cottle knows a new hand is a gift that will change her life — forever.

The North Davis Junior High School student fought back tears before she even saw her new prosthetic hand. When she first laid eyes on it, she was awestruck.

“Whoa! It’s so cool! It’s awesome!” she said as she took it out of the custom-made box with her name on it. “I’m a cyborg,” she said, while trying it out.

Andi was born without a complete right hand. Her fingers never formed above the bottom knuckles.

“I’ve never really known what it’s been like to actually have five fingers (on that hand,)” Andi said. “I’m just overwhelmed and I’m getting emotional. So, yeah, it’s awesome.”

Her new hand is designed to close every time she bends her wrist, making it much easier to grab things.

“It feels quite amazing, actually, just to flex my wrist and have actual physical things close,” she said.

And if she could get it custom-made to look like whatever she wants — why not get it painted to look like a dragon?

“I’m just fascinated by them, I guess,” she said.

The hand is a shiny blue — her favorite color — with gold fingers and a custom paint job to look like dragon scales or feathers. She says her classmates have been asking, “Where’s your new hand?” So, she can’t wait to show it off.

Her parents, Cassie and Jake Cottle, were also floored when they looked at it.

“I’m super amazed. They did such an awesome job with it,” Jake Cottle said.

Cassie Cottle added, “The artwork and the attention to detail… you could tell there was love.”

Andi’s quest for a new hand started last winter when she was in class at Starbase Academy at Hill Air Force Base. Her then teacher, Kerry Reed, said the class was learning about 3-D printing.

“(Andi asked), ‘Do you guys have a 3-D printer?’ I said, ‘We sure do,’ and she said, ‘Do you think you could make me a hand?’ I said, ‘You know what, our 3-D printer is broken right now.’”

So, Reed made a call to the WhiteClouds firm in Ogden, which specializes in 3-D printing. They normally do models for medical training and trade shows, so, this is the very first prosthetic they’ve ever made. Team leader Cris Fowers jumped into the project.

“As soon as she told me, I said, ‘Yeah, we can do this,'” Fowers said. “So, I immediately started making a list of the people I wanted to get involved.”

He heard about these type of prosthetics from the nonprofit group, Enabling the Future. They have the schematics for these hands online and people can donate funds to pay for the mechanical hands for kids who need them. Fowers said their group is definitely going to make more.

“The next one will be easier because we’ve done one,” Fowers said.

In the meantime, Andi will be getting used to her new hand. Andi’s mom said having half a hand never slowed her down before, and she can’t wait to see what Andi will be able to do with a full one.

“She just teaches me, every day, how to persevere. She’s just so talented and a beautiful soul,” Cassie Cottle said.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.