A girl who was born without any fingers on her left hand has been fitted with a UK-first bionic prosthetic – a superhero-style pink arm.
Five-year-old Hayley Fraser, who was born with symbrachydactyly, a congenital abnormality to her hand, would often try to hide her stump in photographs or at nursery.
Her proud parents David and Zania went to the NHS for help – but when doctors refused to offer her a prosthetic, they turned to the internet.
Now, a new US-based charity has made her a pretty pink and purple robo-limb inspired by superhero Iron Man – the first ever to have been made for a British child.
Unlike conventional prosthetic limbs, charity E-Nable’s hands are made on 3D printers which intentionally stand out in a bid to make kids proud of their differences.
Volunteers have made hands featuring everything from LED lights, extra thumbs and even Wolverine-inspired spikes.
Dream come true
And little Hayley is now proud to show off her star-embossed hand for the first time in her life and the charity is looking for more UK kids to help.
Dad David, 36, said: "It was pretty heartbreaking seeing her use it for the first time.
"It was all her dreams come true. It's the little things – she can hold her teddy, peal a banana and even paint her nails now. It's amazing.
"It has made a real difference to her – the philosophy behind the charity is amazing.
"They pick their own designs and colours, and they don't look like you would expect a prosthetic to look – it makes the kids feel really special, rather than something to be embarrassed about."
The brave girl from Inverness, Scotland, didn't let her condition hold her back but, when she was aged three, her parents went to see specialists in Edinburgh to see what could be done.
They were frustrated when doctors proposed an operation to transplant a toe to her hand – with no other options.
David, a self-employed electrical contractor, said: "She just has a little stump on her left hand instead of fingers, but she copes really well.
"We didn't make a big deal out of it, but if she would stand for a photograph, she would stand with her other hand over it, or behind her back.
"We always said it's just part of her, but there was a stage when she was going to nursery and kids ask questions.
"We spoke to lots of specialists and they said that they could remove a toe and make it a finger, but that was their only option – that was it.
"We just didn't want to put a three-year-old child through that so we started researching on the internet."
The family found out about US-based E-Nable who matched Hayley with volunteer and digital craft Professor Frankie Flood at the University of Wisconsin.
They made a plaster cast at home and sent it to the professor who printed the parts on a 3D printer and sent a shiny pink and purple arm to Hayley in just six weeks, back in March.
The simple device is controlled by the wrist, with the fingers closing when she moves her hand down thanks to tightened strings, and opening when she does the opposite.
E-Nable has made around 40 superhero-style hands since it was formed in August 2013 and has even made one with claws for a young Wolverine fan.
Superhero at school
The charity helps match up of engineers and designers with 3D printers to kids who need limbs.
Unlike conventional prosthetics which can cost thousands of pounds, the superhero hands cost just £50 to print.
Volunteer Melina Brown said they help kids be proud of their differences.
She said: "I think when we started it was more about function, but now I think it is as much about self-esteem.
"The hands are cool, so the kids go from being the one who maybe has an issue at school, to suddenly having a cool superhero arm that everybody wants."
Picture credit: SWNS