What Does Charity Mean to You?
Charity: Benevolence. Good will. Giving to the less fortunate. Not just money, but help and support when others less fortunate need it. Not just when the cameras are rolling and one gets to dress up and go to the ball and have pictures taken. Charity is an everyday kindness: empathizing with your fellow man and trying to do right even when no one is watching or recording it.
I have just returned from Ecuador where I was proud, honored and elated to observe the magic that happens there. The magic that I am speaking of is a yearly clinic held by Dave Krupa who founded the Range of Motion project (ROMP). ROMP has been my charity of choice for one year now. It clearly is a charity that is very close to my heart for many reasons.
Every year Krupa hosts a clinic and workshop to outfit persons with any disability imaginable. For these clinics Krupa enlists active prosthetists as well as students to work with a number of amputees. This last week they helped 40 people get their mobility back. It is a transformative experience for every person there. This year, a foundation named Foundation Hermosa Miguel (FHM) hosted the event. The FHM is a state-of-the-art, privately-owned, trauma center in the heart of Quito, Ecuador.
Krupa holds a special clinic once a year in Guatemala and once a year in Ecuador. Volunteers come from all different schools from all over the world to help someone they never met. Some of our country’s finest prosthetists, prosthetic students, physical and occupational therapists all come together to do everything they can to help people who are in need of medical equipment from various regions of the countries.
I was fortunate enough to experience the power of these clinics last week in Ecuador, where patients with all different cases from various regions of South America came to receive care from these talented, giving, special experts. The sheer tenacity, good will and brilliance of the volunteers have filled
me with awe and hope.
The various patients spent the week sitting for lengthy fittings with their family members, patiently waiting for their new lives to begin. Rather than passing time on personal handheld devices, these people conjured up soccer games in the flower-filled courtyard of FHM, running on makeshift steel blades with their nurses and doctors — laughing and smiling while they waited hours and days. It was so moving to watch them with their hope and courage.
One story in particular caught the eye of the international press. It is the story of Brian. Brian is a handsome athletic teenager. Last year Brian was carrying water to the 3rd floor of an apartment building when he became electrocuted. Just like that, Brian lost both his arms to his shoulders due to a live electrical current that nobody knew was there. Krupa serves Brian at his private practice in Quito where he has enlisted the help of another of my personal heroes, Dave Rotter (my local prosthetist and friend).
Together with a prominent surgeon from Northwestern, and a neurological scientist from Salt Lake City, they worked tirelessly together to help Brian retrieve his g-d given right to feed and take care of himself. Since Brian’s devastating injury, he has won a gold medal for the fastest track star ever to run the Para Olympics. Brian has endured many surgeries to help with his nerve pain. His story is one of many hundreds of tragedy, loss, hope and inspiration.
And so on Thursday, July 7, 2017 high up on a mountain top in Quito, Ecuador, 40 people were given the gift of mobility and dignity by a team of benevolent strangers with love and care in their hearts. The air was electric with joy and inspiration and kisses amongst friends, mothers, fathers, daughters and patients. The joy was palpable and contagious. I thought I was a person who had lost my ability to cry long ago but that day tears felt irresistible and welcome.
Please give anything you can to help:
Writen by Penny Fisher
Penny Fisher has not only survived an unbelievable trauma, but also she has thrived. She is working on her memoir, and is available as a motivational speaker and mentor. To contact her, email: [email protected].