Students help amputees regain livelihood
Jeanette Blain | News Editor | [email protected]
In late July, a UVU-based group called Mobility Mission visited the Dominican Republic in order to provide high-quality prosthetic limbs for local amputees.
For nearly two weeks the 17 faculty and students from various majors worked with a local prosthetist and lab technicians to help build the prosthetics and to provide support to amputees as they learn to use the new limb.
The group worked with Dr. Carlos Zameta at the Asociación Domicana de Rehabilitación clinic to create prosthetics for 25 people, most of whom were working-aged adults.
“These are people who need the ability to walk because they need to provide for a family,” Julie Bagley, program director, said.
This is the group’s first trip to the Dominican Republic. For the past three years, a Mobility Mission team has traveled to Guatemala.
Bagley said this year was also exciting for the team because it’s the first year they were able to provide over-the-knee prosthetics. She said the price of the knee component exceeded that of all the other components that were used.
For most of the recipients, this was their first prosthesis.
One recipient was Tomas Nunez, who lost his leg and subsequently his job at the age of 60.
Bagley said that due to the work of Mobility Mission, amputees like Nunez are able to return to work.
“It’s an extraordinary experience to see how these people are benefited,” Bagley said. “You really know that you’ve made a difference, not just to the patient, but to their immediate family, their neighborhood, their community and their country.”
Darrel Hammon, senior director of community college programs at UVU, was an instrumental figure in helping the group get to the Dominican Republic due to his previous work there as a welfare specialist for the LDS church.
In addition to putting Bagley in contact with Dr. Zameta, Hammon was able to act as facilitator and guide on the trip.
Bagley said that it costs around $2,500 for each student to go on the trip. At least half of that cost was covered by fundraisers that were held throughout the last year.
The group plans to return to the Dominican Republic next summer and will host several fundraisers this school year to prepare for the trip.