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With help from MCC student and instructors, 3-year-old rides his first bike

UPDATE: Since the original reporting of the Hudson Borton story, media outlets nationwide have picked up the content. See notes below with links to television coverage and social media coverage. Hundreds of thousands have now heard of the Metropolitan Community College-Business & Technology team who made such a difference to the Borton family.

Original story posted below on July 12, 2016

The Borton family -- 3-year-old Hudson, mom Lyndsey and dad Nick -- reached out to MCC-Business & Technology for help. Student David Valdez (back, from left), Engineering Technology program coordinator Mike Cline and instructor Chris Page designed and printed a prosthetic that allows Hudson to ride his first bike.
Nick and Lyndsey Borton, here with 3-year-old son Hudson, recently reached out to MCC-Business & Technology for help. Student David Valdez (back, from left), Engineering Technology program coordinator Mike Cline and instructor Chris Page designed and printed a prosthetic that allows Hudson to ride his first bike.

Try as he might, Hudson Borton just couldn’t figure out how to ride his brand-new tricycle. But with help from a student and two instructors at Metropolitan Community College-Business & Technology, the 3-year-old is now devising a plan to beat his 4-year-old twin sisters in a race.

Born without a left hand because of symbrachydactyly, a condition characterized by limb anomalies, Hudson struggled to adjust to the tricycle.

“He tried to get on it, and he tried to lean into it a couple of times,” said Nick Borton of Shawnee, Hudson’s dad. “But he couldn’t figure out how to lean into it and ride.”

Shortly after Hudson’s birthday June 8, Nick sent a message to the FabLab page on hudsonhandleFacebook for help after an exhaustive online search. In a matter of days, Nick and his wife, Lyndsey, met with Engineering Technology program coordinator Mike Cline and Prototype Lab technician Chris Page.

After the meeting, Cline contacted Engineering Technology student David Valdez to see if he would be interested in designing a prosthetic attachment that would allow the little boy to test his new wheels. Valdez finished the design in less than two days.

“It sounded like a great project, so I was more than willing to help,” said Valdez, a Kansas City resident who plans to graduate with an associate of applied science this fall. “It’s hard to describe what you get out of something like this. To see the look on his face and his parents’ faces brought me a lot of joy.”

Valdez’s design, produced with the computer-aided drafting and design software package Inventor, includes two pieces that clamp over and under the left handle and a ball joint connected to a cone that Hudson places his arm in to guide the tricycle.

After Page and Cline reviewed the design, the team printed the prosthetic on 3-D printers in the Prototype Lab. The family then visited the FabLab to test the attachment on the bike.

“It’s our job to put students in a position like this to succeed and give them real-life experiences,” Cline said. “David did an outstanding job and got it done very quickly. It was rewarding to see the look on the family’s face and on David’s face when he saw how much it meant to them.”

Hudson left the Business & Technology campus with a new ride featuring an attachment that he can use for years. The prosthetic can be adjusted to fit his arm as he grows.

“To be able to help that little guy is a wonderful thing,” Page said. “I was honored to be a part of it.”

Once he got home, Hudson jumped on his tricycle and began preparing to race his sisters. His father posted photos and videos of Hudson riding his bike on Facebook that MCC shared on its accounts, garnering hundreds of likes.

On July 12, crews from four Kansas City TV stations visited the Business & Technology campus and the Bortons’ home to prepare stories for that evening’s newscasts.

“The people at MCC didn’t know us. They didn’t have to do all of this, but they took the time to help us,” Lyndsey Borton said. “There’s a lot of craziness in the world right now, and to have people like this at MCC be so kind … it means so much to our family.”


Hudson Borton on ABC


You can learn to become a drafter and engineering technician in the program. You will learn engineering graphics and multiple drafting software packages. Our alumni work at companies such as Black & Veatch, KCP&L and Burns & McDonnell. Learn more about the program online.


Visit the Business & Technology campus at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 for Gold Collar Night. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about Engineering Technology, meet with instructors, tour our facilities and meet with an adviser. Register online to jumpstart your career.