Standing With Hope’s Prosthetic Limb Ministry.
- Collect used prosthetic limbs
- Disassemble limbs with the help of inmates who volunteer to recycle prostheses
- Purchase Specific Items and Ship Components
- Treat Patients
- Train Local Workers
- Lift Others Up
- Point Others To Christ
A new team heads to Ghana on August 27th through Sept. 6. We are, of course, monitoring the Ebola issue, but Ghana seems to be clear in this matter. Not only are we planning extra precautions, but we will certainly make plans accordingly if needed. Regardless, our team is committed to go and serve. You can play a part in that trip by sponsoring a prosthetist …or a leg. Standing With Hope is the vision of Gracie Rosenberger. Following the amputation of both legs in the 1990’s due to serious injuries sustained in a 1983 car accident, Gracie purposed to provide quality prosthetic limbs to her fellow amputees. She made this commitment only hours after walking for the first time as a double amputee. Growth and Change With small beginnings that began with an invitation by Ghana’s government to Gracie and Peter Rosenberger, and Gracie’s personal prosthetist, the work began in 2005 in Accra, Ghana (West Africa). It has grown to include five additional certified prosthetists, two prosthetic students, physical therapy students, and a dozen volunteer team members.
Collecting used prosthetic limbs from around the country, Standing With Hope launched the world’s only limb recycling program using inmates in a partnership with Corrections Corporation of America. Mission and Goals Ministry and Mobility remain the key mission of Standing With Hope. Treating amputees, training local technicians to maintain a fabrication and support infrastructure are the key components of Standing With Hope’s prosthetic limb outreach. All of this is done for the opportunity for Standing With Hope personnel to share the message of God’s salvation through the work of Jesus Christ. Major milestones include:
- Standing With Hope team members shifting from the labor force on the field in Africa, to the advisers and mentors for local technicians to treat their own people.
- Memorandum of Understanding with Standing With Hope and Ghana’s government to formalize the partnership and officially permit Standing With Hope to share its Christian message with all patients treated in the program.
Successes Year after year, Standing With Hope continues to send teams and ongoing supplies. With more than 500 limbs made for amputees in Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo, Standing With Hope has not only given the gift of walking, but has established Ghana Health Services’ National Prosthetic Centre as a quality fabrication institute. Major milestones include:
Technicians transitioning from making wooden, ill-fitting limbs—to making high quality, high function prosthetic commensurate with US built limbs.
- Reduced the time needed for making limbs from 3 weeks to less than 48 hours.
- Web based tracking system for patients
- Web based interface for prosthetic limb recycling program utilized at the correctional facility.
- High speed internet video service established in the clinic for real time training and patient evaluation.
- With an infusion of training, equipment, and ongoing supplies, Standing With Hope is responsible for not only helping patients walk and become productive citizens, students, etc., but also increased employment at the limb center itself through the hiring of additional workers by Ghana Health Services.
- Technicians from other countries have traveled to Ghana to train with our team members.
- Numerous national press conferences to all of Ghana/neighboring countries spotlighting the work, and allowing the message of our Christian faith to reach vast audiences.
So, how about it?
Want to give the gift that keeps on walking?
- What is the number one cause of amputation world-wide? Surprising many people, the number one cause of amputation world-wide is due to complications from disease …specifically, diabetes. All that said, most of the children and young adults we treat lose limbs from injuries . Standing With Hope founder, Gracie Rosenberger, lost her limbs as a result of a car accident. Landmines and war certainly create large numbers of amputees, as well, but limbs with poor circulation due to diabetes create all types of problems for patients …and sadly often end in amputation–particularly in developing countries where medical services are limited.
- What type of prosthetic limbs does Standing With Hope fabricate? Taking into consideration the work and living environments in developing countries, Standing With Hope teaches prosthetic technicians how to build below-the-knee, endoskeleton acrylic resin sockets with a pylon and SACH (Solid Ankle Cushion Heel) foot (or similar type foot). We also developed training clinics for above the knee limbs.
- What is an endo-skeletal prosthesis? A prosthesis built more like a human skeleton with support and components on the inside and a cosmetic cover on the outside. This type of socket allows for easy maintenance, adjustment, replacement of feet, etc. Gracie uses this type of prosthesis.
- What is an exo-skeletal prosthesis? A prosthesis that is hollow on the inside with a hard outer surface to bear weight.
- What is a socket? A socket is the portion of prosthesis that fits around the amputated or residual limb (commonly called a “stump”). Prosthetic components are attached to the socket. There are many ways to make a socket, including using materials such as wood, polyester resin, acrylic, and thermoplastics. Each of those methods and materials has its own benefits and detractors. For example, a socket carved from a piece of wood is inexpensive but very heavy and usually poor fitting. A thermoplastic socket can be made quickly and for relatively low costs, but requires specialty equipment such as an oven. Thermoplastics are also not as strong and long lasting.
- What type of socket does Standing With Hope make? We use acrylic resin due to its strength and ease to use. Gracie wears an acrylic resin socket, and hers last for many years. They are lightweight, but durable and can withstand the often-extreme conditions in developing countries. They can also be made in a low-tech environment. Standing With Hope uses non-toxic acrylic resins that create better working conditions (no fumes) and “set up: well in Ghana’s humidity. Three pieces of machinery are required to make this type of socket: A vacuum pump, a cast saw, and a socket grinder/sander. The clinic in Ghana has all three, and replacements can be provided quickly if necessary. We also have two complete electrical systems (110 and 220) in the event that Ghana’s electrical power is interrupted (happens often). We can quickly utilize the 110 generator provided by Standing With Hope that remains onsite at the clinic …and be back in business within minutes. This model avoids using the large ovens needed for thermoplastic sockets. Those ovens are expensive …and if one breaks, they are not easy to repair or replace.
- How long does it take to create a limb? The workers in the National Prosthetic Center in Ghana can now create a below-the knee prosthesis in less than six hours. (That is down from the two weeks it took to carve a wooden leg when Standing With Hope arrived in Ghana). We only will make a limb that quickly if the patient has traveled from a long distance and has limited resources for a lengthy stay in Accra. Normally the turn around time for each patient is within a week.
- Are there faster ways to make limbs?Yes. For example, in the USA, computers and machines are used to make the sockets relatively quickly.
Computer aided design (CAD) and manufacturing has been successfully used in prosthetic applications since 1980s. The principle of socket design, however, has been around for a long time. Due to the lack of hi-tech machines in developing countries, Standing With Hope trains workers to build sockets by hand in a low-tech environment. It is a little more labor-intensive, but there are benefits. The technicians learn a skill that has been around for decades rather than depend upon machines. Devices such as ovens to make thermoplastic sockets, and CAD machines that quickly create sockets are helpful and wonderful … but they are very expensive to purchase and costly to maintain. Taking a different approach that does not rely on technology that is frequently unavailable, Standing With Hope trains workers in time tested principles of socket modification, design, and alignment … in a low-tech environment. Gracie requires an expert eye and skill-set in order to properly fit her prostheses, and through ongoing training provided by our experts, we are imparting those skill sets to technicians in Ghana.
- Why Ghana? (Click for answer)
- What is the value of the limb made by Standing With Hope? A limb created by the technicians in Africa, using the supplies and training provided by Standing With Hope, will be amazingly similar to limbs costing $7,000 or more in the US. Each limb is developed utilizing the same technique and materials that Gracie herself uses. The greatest emphasis is placed on the socket and alignment. A proper fitting socket ensures comfort, a better walking gait, and less stress on other body parts to compensate. With the advancement of high tech components or conversely less expensive components, the emphasis is often placed on the foot itself i.e. a cheaper foot would be advantageous to developing country. Standing With Hope primarily uses a SACH foot, which has been a long time industry standard with its functionality and ease to repair. In addition to leaders of international prosthetic organizations and suppliers, Standing With Hope relies on the counsel of certified prosthetists who are well respected in international circles. Standing With Hope also leans heavily on Gracie Rosenberger’s own experience as double-amputee herself.
- Who supervises the training of prosthetic technicians in developing countries? Standing With Hope recruits US certified prosthetists (CP) to train local workers on building these devices. Each team-leader prosthetist traveling with us has at least twenty years of experience. Our senior prosthetic advisor, James S. McElhiney, has nearly forty-five years of experience as a prosthetist. Mr. McElhiney has served as Gracie’s personal prosthetist since she lost her right leg in 1991, and Mr. McElhiney lost his own leg many years ago. In addition to Mr. McElhiney’s vast experience, our standards reflect Gracie’s and Mr. McElhiney’s personal understanding of limb-loss.
- How much does each limb cost? At the start, it cost nearly $700, but through training, shipping consolidation, and growth, we’ve been able to cut the cost in half to approximately $350 to provide a limb to an amputee in Ghana. This includes all parts (foot, pylon, etc.), materials for fabricating the limb (resin, carbon fiber, stockinet, adaptors, etc.), and manufacturing costs such as equipment, shipping, and labor. In addition, this cost includes high performance liners and sleeves that below the knee amputees wear. These sleeves and liners are exactly what Gracie herself wears with her prosthetic limbs. For above knee amputees, we also provide hi-quality knee units and belt systems. There are many ways to make a prosthetic limb, and several of them are cheaper. We feel a responsibility to make high-quality limbs that will last and perform well in the often-difficult conditions of developing countries. As Christians, we are putting this leg on in order to reflect the Gospel. We want to provide the very best we can. We cannot accept placing a limb on an amputee that we know will not last and perform for the patient. The patients used in training receive a limb for free, and their maintenance is free as well. For all other patients, the government subsidizes the limbs, and a nominal fee for labor is charged to the patient. That fee comes to approximately $100 for a below knee limb. Many can afford that fee. For those who cannot, the clinic director in Ghana coordinates with Standing With Hope for us to underwrite the costs for the patients …ensuring that no qualified patient is turned away. Our focus is on children and active adults who can return to the work force. The fee is simply for labor of the technicians who work for Ghana Health Services.
- Can patients in Africa afford paying even a nominal charge? Many can afford that fee (See previous FAQ). That is a fee that the ministry of health charges, and it goes towards their own expenses. It does not come to Standing With Hope, but instead helps sustain Ghana Health Services’ clinic …so that they can treat more patients. If the patient cannot afford that fee, then Ghana Health Services submits a request to Standing With Hope to subsidize the limb. Each case is reviewed individually …and the priority goes to children.
- How long does the socket/limb last? Each socket is designed to last for a minimum of five years for a fully-grown adult. To date, Gracie’s own prostheses have lasted her for more than six years. Simple maintenance for such things as foot replacement, alignment, etc. is done at no costs to the patient after the socket is made.
- How can I help? Certainly through financial contributions …but don’t underestimate the value of sharing this ministry with your friends, Facebook, church, school …or at your office. We depend upon the donation of used prosthetics to recycle them components and parts. Help us get the word out!
We’ve heard from many families over the years who called to say that a loved one who wore a prosthesis passed away …and they didn’t know what to do with the limb. Often with great emotion, they ask if we would take the device. One woman recently sent of box of limbs that belonged to her husband …who passed away in 1994!
We need your help in sharing this post with as many as possible so that we can connect to those who have used limbs just gathering dust in a closet. We are so honored that spouses, children, and other family members will trust us with a used prosthesis…and we absolutely will take those limbs, recycle all the useable parts, and ship them overseas to help serve another person. Gracie herself has rummaged through the closet to find prosthetic feet or other materials she no longer uses …and we recycle virtually every part! Prosthetic socks, liners, sleeves, and belt systems …we will take it all. If a shoe is on the artificial foot, please don’t forget to include the other shoe!
Watch the story in about a minute.
So DON’T let a used artificial limb go to waste …and just collect dust. We can recycle the limbs not being used …particularly the feet. Now, with our partnership with Corrections Corporation of America, inmates volunteer to disassemble those donated limbs to help recycle all the useable parts. (Watch the short video below and See the Press Release)
Mail The Used Limbs to:
Metro Davidson County Detention Facility
Standing With Hope Program
Attn: Mr. Wilson
5115 Harding Place
Nashville, TN 37211
Please pack items for shipping and send via U.S. Postal Service, FedEx or UPS.
- Standing With Hope does not pay for shipping of donated items.
- Your contribution may be tax deductible. Standing With Hope will provide you with an itemized list of your contribution, but will not assess a value to the donated limb or other items. There are simply too many variables with prosthetic limbs (energy story feet, high performance components, etc…)Please discuss the value of your donation with your prosthetic provider or tax adviser.
- Please include donor name, complete mailing address and email with your shipment so we may acknowledge your contribution for tax purposes. Also, if applicable and possible … please included the name of the individual/estate of the limb owner as well as the name of who is managing the estate.
– If you would like a receipt of this donation in kind, please include the name of the individual donating the limb with the device (confidentially maintained). Also, if there is a shoe on the prosthetic leg, please include the other shoe!
From a patient’s actual medical chart:
“On the second day the ankle was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.”
Did you know that April 21 is “Limb-Loss Awareness Day?”
Me neither. No, I really didn’t.
My wife’s been an amputee since 1991, I run a prosthetic limb organization, and I just found this out. Guess it doesn’t get much press. Kind of weird to put Limb-Loss Awareness Day in April …because April is National Foot Health Awareness Month.
Do you think that maybe they put “Limb-Loss Awareness Day” towards the end of “Foot Health Awareness” month …as a slap at people fail to take care of their feet at the beginning of the month? Hmmmm.
Regardless of both of these events, we’ve had a big week …watch the video and see. After dropping off some more used prosthetic limbs we received this week, I picked up 48 feet (and other recycled components) disassembled by the inmates we partner with at Corrections Corporation of America.
That’s four-dozen people who will walk on custom fit legs using these recycled components.
Now, we need your help to raise the $2,500 to ship not only those components, but the entire pallet I’ve been assembling today. On it are:
Additional feet we’ve been collecting from prosthetic companies
Other prosthetic related materials
We also have a large shipment of prosthetic legs and other supplies coming from a prosthetist in Florida (enough to fill the back of a large pickup truck.)
Shipping is a big cost …and you can help by simply clicking on the donate now button.
On National Limb Loss Awareness Day …in the middle of National Foot Health Awareness month, help us get these wonderful used “healthy” feet to people suffering from limb-loss.
Together, we’re giving the gift that keeps on walking!
Check out our team heading over in August!
Seven years ago (January 2005), we launched a prosthetic limb outreach in Ghana …on faith with no training, funding, or support. After becoming a double amputee, Gracie simply felt a calling in her heart from God to reach others missing limbs.
We built a training program, provided supplies …and since then hundreds of people have received the gift of walking …and hundreds of thousands have heard this story and more importantly, the life changing message of God’s salvation! We started with one local technician in Ghana …and now there are six, and two additional ones have trained from neighboring Togo.
Now, inmates are volunteering for a groundbreaking program to disassemble donated used limbs that we collect from around the country. We recycle all components possible …and use them in our work in West Africa.
Below is a testimony from our first patient, Jonathan Anu-Kwa. Sadly, we lost Jonathan to Malaria two years ago …but, for five years, he WALKED until the day he went to be with the Lord.
We want to reach even more people …and lift even more amputees up on high quality prosthetic limbs. We invite you to participate by contributing a 100% tax deductible year end gift today. Watch Jonathan’s story …and consider supporting Standing With Hope.
We can recycle the limbs not being used …particularly the feet. Now, with our partnership with Corrections Corporation of America, inmates volunteer to disassemble those donated limbs …so that we can recycle all the useable parts.
We are working to get the word out to keep gathering used limbs, and the volunteer inmates, who really love this program, are working faster than expected …and are asking for more limbs.
Here’s a quote from one of the inmates who wrote me a letter: Before I was locked up, I never thought about people crippled in their bodies. Standing With Hope has not only opened my eyes, but opened my heart.”
We’ve heard from many families over the years who called to say that a loved one who wore a prosthesis passed away …and they didn’t know what to do with the limb. Often with great emotion, they ask if we would take the device.
We are so honored that spouses, children, and other family members will trust us with a used prosthesis…and we absolutely will take those limbs, recycle all the useable parts, and ship them overseas to help serve another person. Gracie herself has rummaged through the closet to find prosthetic feet or other materials she no longer uses …and we recycle virtually every part!
Prosthetic socks, liners, sleeves, and belt systems …we will take it all.
Mail The Used Limbs to:
Metro Davidson County Detention Facility
Standing With Hope Program
Attn: Mr. Wilson
5115 Harding Place
Nashville, TN 37211
If you would like a receipt of this donation in kind, please include the name of the individual donating the limb with the device (confidentially maintained). Also, if there is a shoe on the prosthetic leg, please include the other shoe!
So turn that Foot Loose (oh c’mon you know that’s hysterical), and recycle that prosthetic limb in order to help someone else be able to walk.
(Click below to watch a short video showing more!)
We all have significant events that chart us away from our dreams or plans. Far different from “roads diverged in a yellow wood,” these life-altering moments thrust us into the uncharted, unexpected, and unimagined. From blowing out candles on a cake …to a memorial service, it seems hardwired into our psyche to count the milestones placed in some type of sequential order to mark an occasion that forever changed our lives.
For our family, today is one of those times where we pause briefly to reflect on the journey.
On Friday, November 18, 1983, seventeen-year-old Gracie Parker climbed into her car on the campus of Belmont University …and embarked on a journey beyond anything she imagined. At approximately 12:30 PM, (CST), she fell asleep at the wheel, slammed into a cement abutment …and violently and irreparably changed the course of her life.
Less than an hour prior to the accident, Gracie scribbled lyrics to a friend’s song she listened to while driving (yes, she knows that was not the best idea). Authorities collected the bloodstained notebook containing those lyrics following the wreck, and it is in my office today. As Gracie continues recording the audio version of her book, I heard her sing that tune for the first time, and so I thought I would include it in this letter …click on picture to enlarge. (You can hear Gracie sing the tune by clicking on the video link below).
Many people are familiar with Gracie’s journey, but yesterday provided another chapter …in the unlikeliest place: a correctional facility. (Not for me! Honestly, did you really just go there?!)
We launched a partnership with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to start a work project for inmates to disassemble the used prosthetic limbs we receive …so that the components, pylons, feet, adaptors, connectors, etc. can be recycled in Standing With Hope’s prosthetic limb outreach in Ghana.
The program works out of the Wheels for the World shop at the prison. Wheels for the World is the wheelchair ministry of our dear friend Joni Eareckson-Tada. Gracie and I called Joni after leaving the prison to tell her about the day …and you could hear the deep emotion Joni expressed at hearing the news of yet another chapter in HER life. Joni’s comment was eloquent and simple: “Broken people, working with broken people …to reach more broken people.”
Yesterday, I watched Gracie, who is struggling to walk now, take the arms of inmates who helped her from room to room. I saw the tears and laughter in her eyes as she witnessed God weaving more stories into her life …and through her life. You can’t witness such a thing without feeling a profound impact.
Sharing with reporters, I said “What better place to commemorate the anniversary of Gracie’s wreck and how God continues to touch lives through that event …than at a facility full of people who made heartbreaking choices with lifetime consequences?”
While teaching the inmates how to disassemble the used limbs (they didn’t teach me that in college where I majored in music!), I looked at the men gathered in the room and said, “You are here because of bad choices you made; choices with severe consequences that can’t be changed. But your story is not limited to this place. People will stand and walk because of your work with Standing With Hope …and your story is now connected to their story.”
Nodding with understanding, many of them looked at me with deep emotion on their faces.
As Gracie lay trapped and dying in her twisted, burning car nearly three decades ago this afternoon, she cried out, “Jesus, only you can save me now!”
Sometimes, we slam into things that are so painful …and they have us completely trapped. Cut off from all we know, we sit in our own twisted wreck …and despair; often while seemingly looking into the very fires of Hell itself.
It is in that EXACT moment when we cry out, “Jesus, only you can save us!”
Twenty-eight years ago today, Gracie had no idea of the story God purposed to tell through her life. Those inmates are part of that story, YOU are part of that story.
If God does this with incarcerated men and a woman with a broken body, be encouraged to the amazing story He is working in your life today.
Broken people working with broken people to reach broken people …while pointing to the ONE who was broken for us.
VIDEO/AUDIO CLIP OF GRACIE
I’m Gracie Rosenberger, and from my own journey of having both legs amputated, I know the lifetime needs of caring for people with limb-loss. But lifetime …can also translate to “dependent,” and we want the people we treat to stand on their own two feet (literally!)
After giving up both of my legs following my car accident, I knew that God impressed upon my heart to reach others who didn’t have access to prosthetic limbs. As great as our health care system is here in America, there are amputees who can’t afford a limb …and so for a while I served on the board of directors for Oklahoma-based Limbs for Life. (A great organization that helps Americans who can’t afford artificial limbs.)
Wanting to reach even more amputees, my heart was pulled beyond our borders to developing countries …where not only were limbs unaffordable for most, but in many places there aren’t even prosthetic services being offered. I shared my vision with our friends at Wheels for the World, a ministry started by my dear friend, Joni Eareckson-Tada …and they suggested we start in Ghana. Gulping (actually Peter nearly had a cow at the thought of taking me to West Africa), we trusted Joni’s team …and more importantly Christ …and we launched our prosthetic limb outreach in Ghana. (You have to read the whole story in my new book …it will make you laugh and rejoice!)
Clearly understanding the lifetime needs of an amputee, we created an infrastructure to care for each patient’s ongoing requirements. We trained (and continue training) local workers to create custom-fitted carbon fiber sockets for each patient, and then used recycled components, feet, pylons, knees, etc… from used limbs here in the US. (Some materials cannot be recycled and have to be purchased new ...but we reuse every possible component from donated limbs.)
Starting November 2011, inmates incarcerated with Corrections Corporation of America will launch a brand new work program to help us disassemble the donated used limbs …and then we will ship all the components to West Africa to be used to help others walk.
One of America’s most sacred values is independence …and we promote that value by equipping citizens of other countries with the training and resources to build custom prosthetic limbs for their own people. Contributing to Standing With Hope, you not only help provide a limb …but you also:
- Create jobs for local prosthetic technicians
- Make it possible for amputees to return to work.
- Equip children missing limbs to attend school
- Enable a parent missing a leg to raise a family
- And assist people with limb-loss in living an active, independent, and productive lifestyle in cultures where individuals with disabilities are often cast aside.
- BubbleWrap Coverings (You’ve GOT to read this …you’ll shake your head in amazement!
- Recycle a Prosthetic Limb (We take used prosthetic limbs, disassemble them, and re-use the parts …I’ve even done it with some of my own!)
- Sponsor a Prosthetist (We have amazing team members who give of their time to go with us and train local workers!)
- Life and Limb Bags(Peter thought this was a clever name for this bag of important items to care for the patient’s limb —and heart.)
Gracie Rosenberger, Founder
For several years, our friend, Bill Clark, has provided us with wooden pallets for shipping supplies. Bill’s company, ITNOLAP, is located in Murfreesboro, TN.
Yesterday, Bill showed up with another one…but on this one, Bill used a marker to write: Isaiah 35-5-6 which reads:
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
24 hours later …the pallet is loaded, shrink-wrapped, and ready to ship to Ghana. (We “piled it high” …get it, PALLET HIGH? Would you prefer “Bali Ha’i from South Pacific …or is that too obscure?)
Moving on, the piled high pallet contains: pylons, feet, adapters, connectors, prosthetic socks, liners, and all kinds of other needed items. This is in addition to the materials we sent last month.
We also have a box of recycled prosthetic legs needing disassembling …that we will soon be taking to the local prison where we will launch the inmate work program partnership with Corrections Corporation of America. (watch the video below).
Starting with Gracie (who continues to rest and deal with her challenges), each link in the chain of help reaching all the way to Africa is comprised of broken bodies and broken lives …all connected to reach other broken bodies and broken lives. We do this to point to THE ONE who was broken for us.
From something as simple as a pallet …to helping with shipping cost, there are so many ways to equip others to continue Standing With Hope!