Enjoying an ice cream on a hot summer day is something most of us take for granted. For six year old Carmela this simple pleasure was a huge challenge and we were delighted to help her with a prototype ice-cream and lolly holder so that she too can enjoy some summer fun.
Carmela has a very rare progressive muscle wasting condition called LMNA Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. It progressively weakens all of the skeletal muscles, including the heart and muscles for breathing. Carmela is fighting to stay mobile and independent for as long as possible but losing more arm strength is affecting her ability to do the lightest things, including holding a lolly or ice-cream.
Carmela’s mum, Lucy, told us: “To be a kid and being able to enjoy an ice-cream is a big thing and watching your little girl struggle and ask if I can hold it whilst she eats it is heart breaking”.
Lucy got in touch with our Innovation Centre who specialise in coming up with bright ideas to make what seems impossible a reality.
Product Design Manager Ross explains: “Lucy asked us for help at the beginning of the lockdown which made this a particularly difficult challenge. To begin with we told her that we would have to wait until we were able to be back in the workshop to bend plastic and form an appropriate shape. One day, seeing my children eat an ice cream, I remembered Carmela’s struggle and had a flash of inspiration. I realised that summer was happening, ice cream weather was upon us and Carmela should not have to wait just because of an inconvenient pandemic!
“Using a flexible gooseneck component that is usually for industrial applications and the (Ultimaker S5) 3D printer, I was able to produce an adjustable neck holder for ice creams, with an ice lolly adapter to give Carmela some summertime options! Finished with a comfortable pink fabric lining, the ice cream holder is ready for plenty of action over the summer!”
Lucy said: “Her face in these photos says it all!”