O&P EDGE: Components for a Cause sounds like a win-win for those needing inexpensive prosthetic components and as a means of keeping used and discarded equipment out of landfills.
Ver Kuilen: We are inviting clinics, amputees, and community members to get involved by cleaning out their clinics—and their closets—of new and gently used prosthetic components they no longer need or want. ROMP will cover the cost of shipping, and donations will go directly to use in changing someone’s life. Mobility is transformational, and together we can change this.
O&P EDGE: You say this is going to be the one of the largest collections ever.How does ROMP plan to collect materials?
Ver Kuilen: ROMP now has close to 150 O&P clinic partners in the United States as part of our Components for a Cause collection program. Yearly, clinics donate 20-200 pounds of new or gently used prosthetic components, from knees, feet, liners, and sleeves to modular components, supplies, and prosthetic socks. These clinics box up their components and ship them directly to ROMP’s central warehouse in Denver. We pay for shipping and help clinics clean out inventory they no longer need or use. Once we receive the components in Denver, our team will disassemble, clean, and test components in our warehouse before dispatching them out to ROMP’s clinics in Ecuador and Guatemala. This program ensures ROMP’s clinics can continue to provide high-quality prosthetic care to access-limited people with amputation in the Americas. Our clinic partners also serve as drop-off sites for local patients and family members who have old limbs or supplies they no longer use. These clinics will compile these donations from the community and ship them to ROMP. For April, and throughout this spring, we are working to recruit even more clinic partners and promote a call to action for a spring cleaning to clinics and amputees alike. You can join us this month by signing up and requesting a free shipping label on our website.
O&P EDGE: Is there anything you don’t accept?
Ver Kuilen: We do not accept broken or soiled components. The components we pass on to our clinics are high-quality and functional. We do not accept shoes, custom orthotic devices, OTS orthotic devices
and soft goods, broken or soiled prosthetic equipment and supplies. For
more information on what we do accept and do
not accept, visit our component collection site.
O&P EDGE: Do you foresee the pandemic being a factor?
Ver Kuilen: COVID-19 has shown us how globally connected we all are. It’s also made it easier to connect with individuals and organizations outside of our local geographic boundaries. As a global organization, ROMP knows this firsthand, having roots in the United States as well as Ecuador and Guatemala. This year, we’ve taken our global partnerships to new heights, forming new connections in Europe with Germany and Norway as part of our Components for a Cause program. The pandemic has also highlighted the global inequities in access to healthcare. ROMP’s work to bridge this gap and provide prosthetic care to access-limited people with amputations is more relevant and important than ever.
O&P EDGE: Once the materials are collected, how will they be distributed?
Ver Kuilen: Our warehouse manages the inventory and distribution of the components collected through Components for a Cause. Materials are regularly shipped down to our local staff and practitioners in Guatemala and Ecuador. Their patients drive the use and need for the components. Many Latin American countries, including Ecuador and Guatemala, have limited O&P infrastructure and public health systems. Because of this, we rely on higher resource countries like the United States, Canada, and the European Union to acknowledge this gap and take action to solve this global problem.
O&P EDGE: What else is new for ROMP this year?
Ver Kuilen: To help increase transparency and impact, we’ve launched a new feature to our warehouse and distribution process. We are now utilizing a QR code system, similar to how Amazon manages their fulfillment centers. Every foot, knee, and liner donated is given a QR code that is tracked from donor to patient. Once a patient has been fit with a prosthesis, we notify individuals and companies who donated their components so they know exactly whose life they helped change.
O&P EDGE: More than 5,000 pounds of prosthetic components were collected in 2020. What is this year’s goal?
Ver Kuilen: ROMP is hoping to collect 5,000 pounds of components this spring, with a total of 7,000 pounds of components collected over the course of 2021. We are hoping to collect as many pounds of components in the next few months as we did all of last year. To meet this goal, we will need new clinic and manufacturer partnerships, involvement from those with amputations, and help from the entire community to get the word out to get involved. Achieving this goal will translate directly to more people with amputations taking their first steps and getting mobile. Help us reach this goal by signing up, boxing up your donated components and requesting a free shipping label today.