Walking is good for our health and fitness. But not all of us are so fortunate that we can do it effortlessly.
To help those who are challenged to go for a walk or a run because they have lost a limb through an accident or birth defect, Mana Rakangkaew at Kaeng Khoi Hospital near Saraburi, Thailand, models prosthetic legs from clay. The clay partly comes from the Kohler Co. factory nearby. Our team has been donating a certain type of clay that best fits the prosthetic molding process for years.
Patients with missing limbs come from Thailand’s, Myanmar’s, Cambodia’s, and Laos’ remote areas to Kaeng Khoi in the hope to gain greater independence. They are often in financial difficulties. To receive a free artificial leg made from local materials significantly improves their quality of life.
At Kaeng Khoi hospital the process of customizing prosthesis has been so much upgraded that the modeling of a well-fitting limb will now only take a day. Since the program started, Mr. Rakangkaew has already produced more than 300 prosthetic legs.
Originally, Therdchai Jivacate, a Thai orthopedic surgeon and inventor, provided free low-cost, high-quality prostheses to the people in need. He then founded the Prostheses Foundation in 1992 under the royal sponsorship of the Princess Mother Srinagarindra and helped roll-out these programs all over the country. He not only tremendously helped humans, but has also designed prosthetic limbs for elephants. The documentary “The Eyes of Thailand” recounts young elephant Baby Mosha’s story about receiving a prosthetic leg, designed by Mr. Jivacate, after stepping on a landmine.
For healthy people the shortest and cheapest way to get from here to there is often a walk. For people with amputated limbs it is often an arduous, long, painful journey. Programs like Kaeng Khoi Hospital’s can turn this around and truly change a person’s life.