As the dust settles after the devastating January 12 earthquake in Haiti, the need for prosthetic hands to replace those lost due to injury or infection becomes more and more apparent. But with a typical prosthetic hand costing thousands of dollars, most Haitian earthquake survivors will never be able to afford one, potentially dooming them to a lifetime of greater hardship.
Recognizing the immediate need for replacement hands after the earthquake, the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation and Odyssey Teams have joined forces to create the Odyssey Teams Helping Hands for Haiti™ program, which will build and distribute free of charge the Ellen Meadows Foundation LN-4 and LN-4A prosthetic hands to Haitians who are in need of them. The Helping Hands for Haiti program is a philanthropic team-building program organized by Odyssey Teams. According to Odyssey Teams, companies of all sizes have participated in the original Helping Hands Program, providing prosthetic hands to more than 1,000 children in developing countries. Odyssey Teams Helping Hand for Haiti plans to take the original concept and brings it to adults in need of a prosthetic hand.
“From what we’re hearing, there have been so many injuries in which someone’s hand has been crushed and later needed to be amputated-not to mention the amputations necessary because of infections-that we know there will be a huge need for prosthetic hands in Haiti,” said Lain Hensley, COO and co-founder of Odyssey Teams and a board member of the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation. “With that in mind, we hope to start production on the LN-4A hand as soon as possible and to be able to begin giving them away free of charge to earthquake victims in Haiti and 25 other developing nations in six months time.” The LN-4A prosthetic hand is an adult-sized version of the current LN-4 hand, which was created by industrial designer Ernie Meadows as a basic but functional artificial hand designed primarily for children. According to the Ellen Meadows Foundation, thousands of LN-4 hands have been delivered free of charge to amputees around the world through partnerships with Rotary Clubs, church and youth groups, and Odyssey Teams’ philanthropic team-building programs for corporations.
“It’s amazing what giving someone a hand, literally giving them a hand, will do,” Hensley said. “I’ve heard stories of children and adults who have gone into isolation after losing a hand due to a tragedy. And when they receive a new prosthetic, the light goes on. They go from being a shell of a person to being whole again.”
The Odyssey Teams project said that it is currently seeking funding to complete the molds necessary to begin production of the LN-4A prosthetic hand, and the Odyssey Teams Helping Hands for Haiti program is also seeking partner organizations to identify Haiti earthquake survivors in need of the artificial hands.
For more information, call Lain Hensley at 530.342.1650.