Imagine you lost an arm or leg. And you know that artificial limbs exists that can help you live a more normal life. However, the reality you face — is that your chances of ever receiving a device are slim, if not impossible. That is what millions of people in under developed countries live with every day of their life.
In order to make a difference, our Owner and Lead Practitioner, Michelle Loehrke along with Bob Miaczynski, Senior Technician volunteered for a Medical Mission to the Dominican Republic. Their goal was to help physically challenged individuals increase their level of independence with the hope that this would enable them to become active contributors in their communities. Patient referrals were provided by a Christian organization called Meeting God In Mission.
According to the World Health Organization more than 600 million people experience disabilities of various types and degrees. 30 million of those individuals live in under developed countries and are in need of prosthetic / orthotic devices. While these numbers are staggering the resolution is always the same. It starts with treating one patient at a time.
During Michelle’s and Bob’s stay in the Dominican Republic, the goal was to treat as many people as possible. Getting to them was difficult as some lived in rural areas. To reach them they often traveled standing up in the back of a pickup truck. Ensuring they had the right materials and tools, without having seen the patients in advance was also a challenge. It required both insight and creativity. Additionally, something we take for granted was ensuring there was adequate power available.
When speaking about the mission, Michelle and Bob indicated that volunteering in the Dominican Republic, was exciting, austere, and at times a little dangerous. However, just like seeing our patients at home, helping people in need can and does enrich our lives immeasurably.