9-Year-Old Violinist Defies Odds With Help Of Former OU-Tulsa Student

Thursday, September 24th 2020, 5:25 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

A nine-year-old girl, missing part of one arm, plays an instrument that traditionally requires two hands.

She is defying the odds with the help of a village of people, including a former OU-Tulsa student, who wanted to make sure this child has the same opportunities as everyone else.

She is young but fierce. Nine-year-old Eveline Cavanagh is always up for a challenge.

“I don’t know where I got it from, but I am glad that I have that type of attitude,” said Eveline.

Eveline was adopted in 2015 when she was four years old. She lost the lower part of one of her arms in an accident in Uganda when she was a toddler.

“We worried that a child that didn’t have one of her lower arms, would she get made fun of? Would she feel that she is less than anybody else?” said Eveline’s mom Dr. Kristi Kline.

Eveline’s mom knew whatever challenges came up they would be right beside their little girl but turns out, Eveline’s got this.

“She figures out how to do most things," said Kristi.

That determination was no different when Eveline decided she wanted to play the violin, an instrument that is traditionally played with two hands. Kristi started making phone calls and things quickly started falling into place.

“She knew somebody who had a student who only had one arm, 15 minutes later I get a call back saying, “Hey what about getting her a prothesis to help her play?’” said Kristi.

"I was a student of the Master of Occupational Therapy Program," said OTR/L, MSOT Ashley Rankin.

Through a lot of trial and error, Ashley built an arm so Eveline could play her violin.

"I was learning how to basically play the violin too because I didn't know anything about that,” Ashley said. “To also learning how to do 3D printing to also being in the midst of school.”  

While they waited for the right fit, Kristi stepped in to help her daughter.

"My mom would do the bow for me," said Eveline. 

In mere months, Eveline was playing all on her own.

“Well, I guess she is supposed to do this," said Kristi.

"Sometimes this world is not as accessible as it needs to be for others to participate and by helping her, I got to let her experience something that other kids have gotten to experience," said Ashley.

Maybe the only limits we have in life are the ones we set for ourselves.

"She has no limits. She can accomplish anything she wants to do," said Kristi.

Ashley has graduated and is a licensed and registered occupational therapist at Stillwater Medical Center.