Las Vegas Sun

June 25, 2018

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Las Vegas girl with 3-D printed hand to toss first pitch at Game 4 of World Series


Aaron Mayes / UNLV Photo Services

Hailey Dawson closes her eyes as a laser scanner is used to make a 3D model of her deformed hand June 19, 2014 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

While the teams playing in the upcoming World Series have yet to be determined, 7-year-old Hailey Dawson has clinched a spot to throw the ceremonial first pitch during the championship’s Game 4, according to her family.

Hailey, a Las Vegas-area resident, has used a 3-D printed hand to throw first pitches to Bryce Harper at Nationals Park and Manny Machado at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and she’s on a quest to do the same at the remaining 28 big league ballparks.

When Bleacher Report published a video highlighting Hailey’s goal last week, team invites began pouring in from stadiums such as Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and New York's Citi Field.

At birth, Hailey was diagnosed with the rare Poland Syndrome, which stunted the growth of her right-hand fingers, according to UNLV.

In 2014, students and faculty at the university’s engineering department began developing robotic 3-D printed hands. The project took the team more than 18 months to complete.

They engineered an Orioles-themed hand for her first pitch in 2015, and a red model for her June pitch to Harper, UNLV said. They continue to work with the family.

The Dawsons — Hailey; her mom, Yong; her dad, Greg; and her brother, Zach — are baseball fans, specifically the Orioles, Yong Dawson said. Until recently, Hailey played T-ball, while her brother continues to participate in club baseball.

Hailey enjoyed tossing the first pitch in front of thousands of fans at the Nationals game, and the family wanted to know what was next. So, they hope that by visiting as many parks as possible, with Hailey on center stage, they can raise awareness of Poland Syndrome, Yong Dawson said. Hailey also wants to break a Guinness World Record along the way.

“We are on board! Send her our way!” the Brewers wrote in its Twitter post.

“This is the best,” the Dodgers tweet said. “Hailey, we'd love to have you at The Big A!,” the Angels wrote.

One by one, the Phillies, Royals, Mariners, Giants, A’s, Diamondbacks, Padres, White Sox, Reds, Astros, Rockies, Marlins and Pirates, wrote similar messages. Alaska Airlines’ official Twitter page interjected offered to cover Hailey’s airfare for a couple of the destinations.

The trip to the World Series has been made official and the family hopes to begin visit the remaining ballparks starting next season, Yong Dawson said.