FIve years ago, today, I sat around my Grandmother’s dinner table, giving thanks for the fact that my children’s father and my best friend, Ivan Owen, was missing out on Grandma’s amazing Thanksgiving feast and that we were all feeling his absence.

I gave thanks for the fact that he was 10,000 miles away from any hope of sharing our meal with our family…because it meant that he was spending the next 28 hours sitting on a plane, exhausted, overwhelmed and  processing the fact that he, along with another creative mind, Richard Van As, had just set into motion one of the most beautiful models for collaboration, kindness and sharing that the world has ever seen.

Today, we celebrate 5 years since little Liam helped build the small metal hand and his first prototype for what would soon become the first 3D printed e-NABLE hand to be created and fitted to a child, in the entire world.

Today, we are thankful that two men, who had been strangers to one another, came together – to collaborate and create a set of metal fingers on a thermoformed piece of plastic, for a child they had never met…simply because they could.

Today, we want to celebrate every single e-NABLE volunteer who has followed this model of collaboration and who has helped to grow this simple act of kindness – into a global movement of makers, thinkers, tinkerers, artists, philanthropists, designers, teachers, students, families and beautiful human beings who have put their personal, religious, political and cultural differences aside in order to work together to make a difference in the lives of others.

Ivan Owen shares, “e-NABLE has grown in ways which the individuals at its beginning could never have anticipated.

The generously contributed efforts of innovators and pioneers from all over the globe have made this phenomenon possible and will carry it forward into the future. The individual contributors and chapters making these advances do so with a spirit reflecting the place where this started; with a wonderful young device user and his supportive and encouraging family.”

Today, we want to send an extra special thank you to Liam and his family…for without Liam’s determination and the encouragement of his Mother and brother, e-NABLE would not exist as it is today.

This year, my own family will all sit around the dinner table together, giving thanks that there are thousands of people, all over the world, who are unaware of the origin of this story, the sacrifices that were made, the struggles that were overcome, the frustrations that almost got the better of us, the determination that was put forth, the sleepless nights that were spent working on designs and problem solving and the strain that was put on our families…all of these things that went into creating something beautiful to give to the world….because that means, they are spending the day being grateful to the entire amazing Community we call “e-NABLE” – and SMILING because of it.

This year, we give thanks that there are approximately 3000-4000 children and adults who have been gifted a 3D printed hand, arm or assistive tool by one of our thousands of volunteers, in over 100 countries – because serendipity brought together just the right two men and the perfect little boy and their supportive families – to set this entire global movement in motion.

And that – is something to be extremely thankful for.

“If two people on opposite sides of the planet,
from their garages,
can use this technology as a vehicle
to create and share an idea
which then blossoms into a small community
who is working to find ways to create a large positive impact,
imagine the possibilities
as more and more people become involved
and begin exploring what this technology can do.
It can serve as a new tool
with which we can reach out and help our neighbor.
And our neighbor can now be someone
who lives thousands of miles away.”

  • Ivan Owen

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