Hailey Wright, a pending prosthetic hand recipient from Kilkivan.
Hailey Wright, a pending prosthetic hand recipient from Kilkivan. Troy Jegers

Recycled plastics will give this Kilkivan girl a hand

A KILKIVAN family's dream will become a reality much sooner than expected when 12-year-old Hailey Wright is fitted with a left hand - courtesy of a Gympie/Sunshine Coast businessman and his recycled, repurposed plastics.

It was only a month ago when Bernie Craven told The Gympie Times he wanted to find a possible local prosthetic recipient through his Waste Free Systems business, and a simple social media greeting from Hailey's mother Amanda Quinn ultimately resulted in a meeting at his Kunda Park Warehouse, and a helping hand for Hailey within a matter of weeks.

Ms Quinn said the surprising opportunity had been an overwhelming mixture of shock and excitement for the entire family, which also includes partner David Day and Hailey's siblings Thomas, De-Koda and Mayce.

READ MORE: Meet the Gympie businessman turning plastics to prosthetics


Amanda Quinn, Thomas Quinn, David Day, Mayce Wright, Hailey Wright, De-Koda Wright.
Amanda Quinn, Thomas Quinn, David Day, Mayce Wright, Hailey Wright, De-Koda Wright. Troy Jegers

"I haven't shed a tear in 10, 12 years, (but) even talking to people at work because all the locals come in, I did get quite emotional for her. I never, ever thought it would happen like this," Ms Quinn said.

"We're country people, we're private. I run Foodworks, our family was practically raised there. It's a shock for me. It's a bit different.

"(Bernie) is a fantastic man, we're really thankful."

Hailey, born in Gympie Hospital without her left hand as a result of Symbrachydactyly (a congenital abnormality characterised by limb anomalies), had only her most honest thought to share.

"I don't know," she said with a shy smile.

"It's all a new experience for her, I suppose she doesn't really know what to expect," Mr Day added.

Ms Quinn added her daughter was never treated differently at home, and had never asked for any special treatment as a result.

"I didn't know until she was born, it took me two minutes to process it," Ms Quinn said.

"We've always taken her as she is, we're country people.

"We don't label Hailey as disability. She can tie her shoelaces, do up her buttons, ride a four-wheeler motorbike and a two-wheeler with clutch. If she doesn't do it she gets left behind.

"It's not cruel to be kind, but we're pretty tough. We don't mollycoddle over her."

Now weeks removed from first getting her arm measured for the prosthetic, Hailey and her family must only wait another few weeks until she tries one on for a long-term fit.

Mr Craven previously said a significant aspect of his overall Waste Free Systems ambition came from transforming used plastics specifically through e-NABLE, a worldwide network of people using 3D printers to produce prosthetic limbs.

He has already enlisted the help of Gympie hair salons A Beautiful You, Hair Techniques and Lauren Alexandra Artistry to separate their waste and have their plastic materials re-purposed for a range of products in a bid to reduce landfill.