Sculpting limbs for charity

  • Community
  • Tuesday, 10 May 2016

(From left) Prosthesis Foundation of HRH Princess Mother of Thailand vice-president Dr Thamrongrat Keokarn, Thai consul-general Ekajit Kraivichian and Ooi chatting with several recipients of the prosthetic limbs at the Che Hoon Khor Moral Uplifting Society in Macalister Road, Penang.

HOW Xue Qi was born without arms and right leg.

When the 10-year-old’sprosthetic limbs, which she had been wearing for the past two years could no longer be used, her parents became worried.

Xue Qi’s father How Ann Lok, 41, a factory worker from Johor, said he and his wife have another daughter and the family is finding it difficult to make ends meet.

“It’s been tough on us, as we have to survive on my single income of RM2,000 a month,” said Ann Lok.

However, the family was relieved when Xue Qi was chosen to be fitted with a new set of artificial limbs, under the Free Prosthesis Programme by the Che Hoon Khor Moral Uplifting Society in Jalan Macalister, Penang.

The programme is jointly organised by the society and the Federation of Moral Uplifting Associations Malaysia.

She is among 212 recipients selected by the society, which has organised the programme for the fourth year. The society receives technical support and advice from the Prosthesis Foundation under the patronage of HRH Princess Mother of Thailand.

“I am very happy to join this event and hope this programme can help my daughter to lead a normal life,”said Ann Lok, when met at the society yesterday.

The compound of the Che Hoon Khor Moral Uplifting Society yesterday was abuzz with activities as a team of 53 doctors, technicians and support staff from Thailand got busy checking on the recipients, the type of prosthesis they required, taking measurements, making the limbs and finally fitting the artificial limbs.

The team was led by the Prosthesis Foundation of HRH Princess Mother of Thailandsecretary-general and consultant orthopaedic surgeon Dr Vajara Rujiwetpongstorn.

Dr Vajara, 66, who has been with the Foundation for over two decades, said this was the biggest number of recipients so far.

The team will be here until May 15.

Dr Vajara said prosthetic limbs below the knee could be made within hours after measurements are taken, but those that need to be fitted above the knee could take up to two days, as it is more complicated.

“The materials used to make prosthetic limbs haven’t changed much, which is thermoplastics, reshaped after initial fabrication,” he said.

He said similar materials had been used since World War II and the Vietnam War, where many had lost their limbs because of the mines.

Dr Vajara, however, said with today’s 3D technology, better and effective limbs could be made.

He also said it was important for the recipients to be mentally prepared before the prosthetic limbs were fitted.

“They have to accept reality that he or she has an artificial limb and at times it takes months or a year for them to be comfortable with the fitted limbs,” he said.

Another recipient is technician Albert Francis, 43, who lost his right leg after he was hit by a 20-tonne lorry, while riding his motorcycle seven months ago.

“My wife, P. Gantimathy, who is a nurse, is my pillar of strength and I am grateful to receive this artificial limb,” he said.

Clerk Nur Azizah Jamaluddin, 33, brought her mother Siti Aishah Desa, 57, who had lost her leg due to diabetes last year.

“My siblings and I drove all the way from Bukit Mertajam with the hope that my mother will be able to walk again,” said Nur Azizah.

Earlier, Che Hoon Khor Moral Uplifting Society Penang president Datuk Seri Ooi Soo Hing said the programme this year cost about RM650,000, including the payment for the services of the doctors and technicians.

For more information on the programme, contact the society at 04-2267248.

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