A middle school project changed the life of a woman who lost her hand

A middle school project changed the life of a woman who lost her hand

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Stevenson Middle School, three STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) students went down-to-the-wire on their final project of the year.

They built a prosthetic hand for an amputee.

"Me and Myra were in charge of creating the arm, looking at different designs, researching. And Nyla was working on the fingers on the other hand," eighth-grader Charlie Lonborg said.

Lonborg, Myra Kayano and Nyla Boneza spent nearly two months using a 3D printer to fashion an artificial limb for Laura "Dutchy" Moffat-Cintron, a victim of nectrotizing faciitis or flesh-eating bacteria.

"I almost died three times. Most people do die from it," she said.

After her diagnosis in December 2016 she underwent 15 surgeries and multiple amputations.

The school got involved because Moffat-Cintron went to Stevenson.

"I feel the love from the community is really helping me to keep striving to get better," she said.

"This is the first time that we've actually been able to go out into the community and help someone. It means so much," said Trish Morgan, Stevenson's STEM teacher.

On Thursday Moffat-Cintron visited the school to get her new arm.

After trying it on she said it was more comfortable than her cable and hook prosthetic. She'll use the students' creation until she can afford a more sophisticated hand.

"I'm hoping to get a bionic prosthetic, specifically a B-bionic, the one where the fingers can move individually and you can hold a (computer) mouse," she said.

That model costs $100,000. The arm the students built cost only $45 for materials.

Moffat-Cintron calls the kids her "young angels."

"I'm still trying to get better," she said.

"I am thrilled that we've been able to help her and create something that will improve her life," Lonborg said.

Stevenson's students used 3D printers at Iolani School and University of Hawaii to complete their project.

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