13-year old Quinn steps up to help health staff ease the pain from wearing masks for a long duration

“I am Quinn Callander, a 13-year old boy from Vancouver, Canada.

Image: Quinn Callander

Around Spring 2019, my school bought a 3D printer and they invited students to join the 3D Printing Club. I had a slight interest in 3D printers so I decided to join. There was something about the club that I really enjoyed. Looking at my interest in 3D printing, my parents surprised me with a 3D printer on my 12th birthday.

Three weeks ago, my mother showed me a post about a local nurse experiencing pain in the back of the ears from wearing masks all day. To help take the pressure off health workers’ ears, I thought I could come up with some solution. 

Health staff wearing mask with the help of ear guard
Image: Mask wearer using Quinn's ear guard

I brainstormed and downloaded a bunch of files for the design of a simple surgical mask strap from Thingiverse–a 3D printing forum. After programming my 3D printer, I created a few different prototypes. My mother’s friend who is a nurse was very kind to test the different prototypes and choose the best one, which is the design that we have finalized.


The ear-guard wraps around the back of the head and can be connected to elastics of the mask, enabling health workers to adjust their masks and keep the straps from rubbing against the back of their ears. I have now programmed my printer to run continuously for 24 hours a day, and so far we have printed and donated over 700 ear guards.”


“I am Heather, Quinn’s mother. It makes my husband and I so proud of him. He is sometimes quiet and reserved but deep down he is a very kind boy. We are a scouting family and our motto is to take care of others.

Quinn and his mother, Heather
Image: Quinn with his mother, Heather

Because of the lockdown, we felt that we can’t do a lot of things sitting at home. However, when Quinn came up with this idea to help the health staff, we came together as a family to work on this project. The experience has been very rewarding for us. We feel that we are making a bigger difference to the community.

On 3rd April, I posted Quinn’s contribution to my Facebook profile, and my friend asked me to make it public so that she could repost. From there the post took off. To date, it has been shared almost half a million times. People across the world are appreciating Quinn’s efforts. We are so overwhelmed by the response we have received. A lot of health workers have contacted us to get one of the ear guards. But unfortunately, we can’t fulfill the demand across the countries. Hence, Quinn has made the files public, and we now request people with 3D printers to print as many ear guards as possible and donate to their local hospitals. This will be a huge help and support for our frontline workers.

One of the things we never anticipated was that ear guard is not only helping taking pressure off ears but also helping people who can’t wear a mask easily, either because of ear deformity or a lack of an ear or because one wears a hearing aid that interferes with the mask. Quinn’s innovative solution has solved a wider problem, and the solution now enables health staff to wear ear masks with ease for a longer period of time.

When I look at kids like Quinn who are kind, who believe in giving back to the community, and who innovate solutions, it makes me feel that we are leaving the world in good hands.”


“When someone tells me I am too young to make a difference, I just say, “Watch me”.


Quinn with his parents
Image: Quinn with his parents

Click here for the 3D files for Surgical Mask Strap

You Humanity pays respect and gratitude to Quinn and his family who are going above and beyond to contribute towards Humanity.

If you know someone who is working for others, please share the story https://www.youhumanity.com/share-your-story

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