LN-4 Prosthetic Hand…Changing Lives

Gold Beach Rotary Club LN4 Prosthetic Hand ProjectAn estimated 500,000 children worldwide have been maimed by land mines. Even more, both adults and children, are survivors of acts of violence, political oppression, vehicular and other accidents, and birth defects.

The LN-4 Prosthetic Hand Project was spearheaded by Ernie Meadows as a memorial to his daughter Ellen. Visit theLN-4 website to hear the story of how Rotary became involved with the hand and how Rotary Districts 5110 and 5160 joined together to provide the hand for those in need . . . . at no cost to the recipients. Learn more about the hand . . . learn how it works . . . read the reports from the teams that put the hand through its trials . . . view the photos of the recipients . . . and learn how you can become involved in this most worthwhile endeavor.

The Rotary Club of Gold Beach has participated in this project by learning more about it through presentation at the weekly luncheon meeting, and subsequently expanding the Ghana Clean Water Project to include identifying and fitting residents of Ghana with these prosthetic devices.

Following are excerpts of correspondence from Tony and Terri-Lynn Kalhagen who traveled to Ghana and provided four persons with an LN-4 Prosthetic device.

November 24, 2008
Gold Beach Rotary Club LN4 Prosthetic Hand Project“On our way to Gungabisi we saw a young boy with out a hand walking down the street. We all jumped out and you can imagine that he was quite startled. Rashed communicated with him in their language and arranged a meeting for that evening. So that night we set off into the bush a few miles out side of Bolgatanga. In the dark we asked people along the way how to find the home. Found the village and requested permission from the chief to enter. We then found the house and Rashed had to explain to the boys father , again in tribal language what we wanted to do. It took a while for him to understand and finally he gave his approval. For the next Hour Terri fitted her first hand onto the Boy while the village watched. By headlamp, it was not easy. The boy immediately took the pen and paper and wrote his name. Again, I can not continue to express by words what this is like.”
November 28, 2008
“The other night the second hand recipient came to our hotel. He is missing both hands for 20 years, as tony said. Unfortunately he had been drinking which made for an interesting and comical fitting. Which was ok because we needed a laugh. We will re visit him again and decide what to do. who am i to judge? if i lived in poverty stuck in africa with no hands and no way to make a living i might be drinking also. The really good news is that when the hand was on he wrote a sentence for the first time in 20 years. I guess the mind never forgets…amazing to see. i am looking forward to tomorrow to fit two more people.”

December 6, 2008
“In the morning two hand recipients came to the hotel and were fitted with success. One lady was eighty and lost her hand three yrs ago due to a medical problem, a boil. The other was the man with no hands. We had to cut some of the plastic on the women’s hands to make them fit. Could only find a large kitchen knife, but managed. We ordered them rice and they both used their hands for the first time to eat. The man is a peasant and I have never seen anybody eat so fast. He was using a strip of cloth to somehow tie a spoon onto his limb to eat. Thx Tim and Carol for this unreal experience. Tony and I have both been doing the fittings.”