BELTON, Mo. — One local man helped a little girl with diabetes know she’s not alone.
An elementary school girl wanted her doll to have an insulin pump to match her own, and one Belton man uses this 3-D printer to make them.
“It’s her lifeline, she has to have her pump, if she doesn’t have her pump, she needs to be on shots,” said Kellie McClanahan, whose daughter Madilynn has diabetes and a pump delivering insulin to her 24-7.
Thanks to one of Kellie’s friends, Madilynn’s American Girl doll now has an insulin pump too.
“It makes me feel comfortable, and it feels like I have someone else in the family who has diabetes too,” said Madilynn.
Kellie, who now lives near St.Louis, and David Rinaldi of Belton, were schoolmates here. She saw on Facebook he bought a 3-D printer and asked if he could make an insulin pump for her daughter`s doll.
“Within minutes, no hesitation, he`s like I can do that,” Kellie said.
Rinaldi has three young girls, and says he’d want someone to do it for them.
“If they wanted their doll to look just like them, and it was something that wasn’t out there, I’d hope somebody would help to create that to make them feel better,” said Rinaldi.
Kellie says she’s asked the American Girl company to make diabetic supplies for a while.
“That`s what American Girl is about; make your doll like you. You can have glasses, you can have hearing aids, wheelchairs, food allergies, EpiPens, but they don`t have an insulin pump,” said Kellie. “Luckily I had a good friend that can make that happen.”
Rinaldi builds an object on a computer, a small motor runs the 3-D printer that melts the plastic into the shape designed on the computer.
“It builds at about a quarter of a millimeter at a time, and builds layer, after layer, after layer,” said Rinaldi.
Rinaldi made this insulin pump, a blood sugar transmitter, and receiver for a doll that is now just like Madilynn.
“It makes her comfortable to talk about something that she deals with on a daily basis,” Kellie said.
“Some kids might like it to make them not feel like they`re alone,” added Madilynn.
Rinaldi says he’ll continue with these projects if it can make a difference in someones life.
We reached out to the American Girl company, which says a specialized item that will speak to girls with diabetes will be coming out in January 2016.