TROY — Sisters Willow and Eden Pellman have been hard at work to help the helpers.
Willow, 10 and Eden, 7, are using their family’s 3D printer to make ear guards for healthcare workers to alleviate discomfort from wearing masks during long shifts. Willow is a fourth grader and Eden is in first grade at Cookson Elementary.
Their grandmother Dustina Monnier sent the sisters a file to load into the 3D printer to make the plastic ear guards. The ear guards move the tight elastic bands off the back of the ear. The guards have notches to loop the band straps and can be adjusted to move the pressure to the back of the head instead of behind the ear.
“I like helping people and I don’t want them to suffer especially since they are working around sick people and are saving others,” Willow said.
Willow said it takes about 30 minutes to make one piece, but they are trying to print three guards at once to speed up the process.
“We get to help people because we don’t want anybody to get sick,” Eden said.
The girls have made approximately 50 guards since beginning the project on Monday.
“We’ve been donating them to people that work at nursing homes and doctors, nurses and people in the medical system,” Willow said.
Their mother Laura said a neighbor saw the girls were making the guards and asked to give them to her family members and co-workers who work in local nursing home facilities.
“So they gave her the first batch to help them out because where they work they have COVID-19 units now,” Laura shared.
The guards will also be donated to family members like their aunt who works as a pharmacist and wears a mask while working with the public. Laura said she posted a picture of their girls with the guards on Facebook and was surprised at the response. She said the girls have donated the guards to as many people who have requested them so far.
“I figured some people would want them, but I was surprised how many people have contacted me,” Laura said. Laura said she and her daughters empathize with healthcare workers who are often left with deep marks and skin irritation from wearing their masks to protect themselves from the highly contagious coronavirus.
Laura said the girls will make ear guards until the 3D printer runs out of materials. Their father Larry works with robotics and the girls often make things like bookmarks, animals, signs for their teachers and other objects with the machine.