Cardinals welcome 8-year-old raising awareness about rare birth defect by throwing first pitch with 3-D printed hand

ST. LOUIS - She is on a mission to throw out the first pitch at every major league ballpark.

On Wednesday night, an inspiring 8-year-old Hailey Dawson was at Busch Stadium with a message.

Hailey was born with Poland Syndrome and doesn’t have use of three fingers on her right hand.

“It’s called my special hand,” said the spunky young girl, while showing off her 3-D printed hand.

“From the get-go when she was born it was a lot of guilt at first like, ‘What did I do to cause this?” said Hailey’s mom, Yong Dawson. “That’s until the doctors told us, it’s a fluke.”

Engineering students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas designed the 3-D printed hand specifically for Hailey.

And that’s how her ball-throwing journey is helping to raise awareness about the rare birth defect.

When it came time for her big moment at the Cardinals game against the San Diego Padres, Hailey was not only confident but cool in her own way.

The first pitch for the game wasn't Hailey’s first ever.

“14th pitch,” she said which was caught by outfielder, “Dexter Fowler!” the little girl exclaimed as she came running back from the mound.

Hailey’s family has been posting about each first pitch with the hashtag: #journeyto30. It’s a journey that her mom hopes will not only continue to educate the public about the rare condition but also instill inspiration.

“She makes me so happy because she’s so crazy and she loves it,” said Hailey’s mom.

The family said that they have all of the 3-D hands at home and plan to make a big display piece with all the hands after Hailey throws out first pitches at all 30 stadiums.