LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Caring for a child with special needs can be difficult, especially when it comes to the cost of treatments. A pair of college students is working to fix that.
Peyton Deaton and Caleb He are both juniors at the University of Louisville and have spent the last month designing and 3D printing a leg brace for 6-year-old Harleigh, who has cerebral palsy.
The disorder affects Harleigh’s motor skills, and recent surgeries have left her in a wheelchair. Her family de ella said she’s improving, and with the help of these braces, she could crawl and climb again.
He met Harleigh and her family while working at the Ronald McDonald House in Louisville. When he realized the project was beyond his scope of expertise, he reached out to Deaton, who was happy to help.
Deaton said he has family members with cerebral palsy and was glad to put his skills to good use.
After three iterations of designs, it was finally time to see if everything would fit.
The two then made their way to the Ronald McDonald House, where Harleigh’s family was. Her family de ella frequently travels three hours from their home de ella in eastern Kentucky for medical care there.
This would also be Deaton’s first time meeting Harleigh.
Surrounded by family, the time came for the fitting. The leg brace was a perfect fit.
“You like it?” Jatonda Ousley, Harleigh’s grandmother, asked.
“Yeah,” Harleigh replied.
Harleigh’s grandparents take care of her and said that a leg brace like this is a game-changer, not only for her granddaughter, but for so many other kids dealing with similar issues. Normally, leg braces are very expensive and have to be replaced frequently as kids grow. 3D printing offers a cheaper and less intensive alternative.
“She’s had such a hard time getting fitted for braces. There is a process to it, holding here there, casting one leg at a time. It’s a nightmare,” Ousley said.
When she was born, Harleigh weighed just one pound four ounces, but thanks to a team of great doctors and a lot of love, six years later she’s making great progress.
“We are taking baby steps, but we are getting there. I believe, like I said with the braces and stuff, she’s going to be walking again,” Ousley said.
Thanks to a couple of college students who saw an opportunity to do something good, it’s made things much easier.