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Local boy gets life-changing prosthetic arm

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A local boy has received a life-changing gift, a prosthetic arm made by a 3D printer.

Seven-year-old Harun Halilovic was born with Volkmann Syndrome, which left him with an undeveloped right arm. This prosthetic not only gives him a new hand, but opens a world of possibilities.

Halilovic is bright - and determined but fate handed him an unexpected limitation.

“When I was jump roping, I was frustrated, and tying shoes, I was frustrated,” said Harun.

His occupational therapist was frustrated, too. She shared Harun’s story with her brother-in-law, Bob Kennett, at a family barbeque.

“As she talked about it I thought I’m an engineer, there's got to be an easy way to do this,” said Kennett.

Bob found the answer inside a 3D printer and online, he found the plans for a prosthetic arm.

“And then I thought, you know I bet that the local tech school, the STEM school would be the perfect place to get to do this,” said Kennett.

Inside Nashua’s Academy for Science and Design, Owen Sullivan and his classmates worked every day for five months to design the pieces for Harun’s arm.

“We printed pieces, we put them together, we figured out what we did wrong, we printed out more pieces, and we just did it over and over again until we got it right,” said Kennett.

For the cost of just $13, it was the perfect fit.

“Who wants to do homework when you can change somebody’s life,” said student Sierra Landel.

That moment came last week when Harun tried on his new prosthesis.

“When I came to school the next day, all the kids were looking at it. I felt proud of myself,” said Harun.

Harun's new arm, complete with the logo of his favorite superhero, Captain America, now allows him to tie a shoe, pick up small objects and shake the hand of the man who gave him those superhero powers.

Harun says the arm makes him feel strong, but Kennett says Harun’s strength has been there all along.

“To see it all come together at the end was incredibly gratifying. I couldn't believe what he was doing,” said Kennett.

Kennett says he plans to continue to print new pieces, so the prosthesis can grow with Harun as he develops.

Funding for some of his arm was paid for by the Bedford Men's Club.

The students now hope to continue creating prosthetics for anyone in need. Those who are interested can contact the school at raiseyourhand@asdnh.org.