Neriah/Image: Elisabeth Rhodes

Neriah Rhodes is a little girl who had a dream of playing the violin. The 5-year-old has about 2 inches of her left arm below her elbow but she does not let that fact slow her down. That’s where Derew Miles comes in. Miles is an engineering student at Le Tourneau University who accepted the challenge of making an assistive device for Neriah to aid her in playing the violin.

Joanna People, a violin instructor from Florida sent out Emails to a few universities seeking volunteers to create the assistive device using a 3D printer. Miles took it up thinking he was one in a group of many volunteers. He later found out that he was the only one interested in the project and though he harbored doubts, he did not back off.

“I’m so happy that I was able to do this because the Lord Almighty did not make Neriah so that she could miss out, he did not make her the way he made her so that she could not play the violin. He made her for whatever reason he might have to be her and to have as much opportunity as anyone else,” said Miles.

Miles was supervised by his professor, Dr. Ko Sasaki. The duo went through 15 prototypes before they came up with the perfect fit. Miles had the assistive device sent to Neriah free of charge. He  even painted it pink which is her favorite colour. Elisabeth Rhodes, Neriah’s mother is ecstatic about the device and says that her little girl can now be independent and does not require constant assistance.

“We could not thank you enough in words for what you’ve done for Neriah, who you’ve never met, and you probably will never meet her,” Rhodes said in a message to Miles. “And we get to benefit from your hard work and we are incredibly grateful for you.”

Derew said the assistive device took more than 150 collective hours to complete over the course of 7 months.

Neriah has named the device Eleanor and practices daily. It is hard to see good during bad times and such selflessness gives us a ray of shine in an otherwise dull world. #Rewordit 

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