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Here’s Why Michael Campos Started Claws From Carter

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Michael Campos from Claws from Carter headlines our 6th edition of Hero Story. If you want to check out the write-up, head over to HeroStory.org/Carter.

Here is the full text of the interview I had with Michael.

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Q&A: Giving Kids An Upper “Hand” With Michael Campos

Hero Story: How’s Carter doing these days? I know it’s a been a few years since he received his hand.

Michael Campos: Carter is doing great. The kid is a champ. He’s looking forward the improved hand that U.C. Berkley and I have been working on for him. Although Carter doesn’t need a helper hand, I think it is important that he be given the opportunity to use one should he choose to do so.

HS: How do you go about replacing hands or parts of them as the child grows?

MC: This is a question I get asked a lot and most are surprised by the answer.

While the hands do provide some functionality, the kiddos don’t require them- they have figured out how to do things in their own way. I’ve found the confidence factor to be the greatest benefit from the 3D printed hands. (See Carter Hayes story on clawsfromcarter.org) Who doesn’t want a “robot hand”, right? I’ve even heard a couple kids say “I wish I was missing a hand so I could get a robot hand”.

That being said, we’ve never been asked to replace a hand. I’m let to believe that because of the limited functionality of the current designs, the fact the children know how to do things without them, and that they’ve received that confidence boost they may have needed, by the time they outgrow their first hand they really don’t need another.

This is the main reason I am working with U.C. Berkeley. I think that if we can make the hands more functional and more comfortable, children (and adults for that matter) will find them more useful, and reap more benefits than the confidence or “cool” factor.

HS: As of the end of 2018, how many kids have you helped?

MC: Honestly, I’ve lost count. I very rough estimate would be 1-2 dozen kids.

HS: What does it mean to you to be able to do this for your son — and by extension other kids?

MC: Honestly, I’m just a Dad trying to do right by his son. It’s as simple as that. Carter is my oldest son, and I am doing this in his name. I want to give him all tools possible, should he choose to use them. The cool thing about this is that whatever benefits Carter, can benefit others. While helping Carter is priority number one, I think it is awesome that we can help others along the way. Every tool that Carter receives should be available to others, that’s the way I look at it.

HS: What do the children’s parents say to you? Is there one story that stands out in particular?

MC: Again, see Carter Hayes story here: https://www.clawsfromcarter.org/portfolio-items/carter-hayes/

Carter Hayes was the first child, other than my Carter, for which I built a hand. I will definitely always remember our first recipient. On top of that, Carter Hayes has the same first name as my son Carter, and his middle name is Michael, which is my name. I don’t find that to be a coincidence. I believe there is some kind of greater meaning behind that.

Other parents words found here: https://www.clawsfromcarter.org/portfolio-items/tucker-cammon/ and here: https://www.clawsfromcarter.org/portfolio-items/riley-scarborough/.