From Knees to Standing: A Prosthetics Story in Haiti

Mobility Outreach InternationalSchnailove is an 8 year-old girl with a charming smile. She lives near Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, with her grandmother, 4 siblings, and 3 other adults in one house, and attends her local school. Her grandmother supports the family by selling water from a small roadside stand. Schnailove was born with a birth defect that affected the formation of both of her legs, and consequently, her mobility was limited to short distances crawling on her hands and knees. She needed to be carried for longer distances.

In early 2013, Schnailove and her grandmother were referred to the Justinian University Hospital prosthetics and orthotics workshop, where they saw amputees walking with prosthetic limbs. The workshop is supported by Mobility Outreach International and The Haiti Project at the University of Miami. Initially, however, Schnailove was not interested in a prosthetic leg. The workshop’s prosthetist convinced her to try it, and a week later, she was fitted with an orthosis to support her right leg and a prosthetic leg for her left limb. This was the first time in Schnailove’s life that she had ever stood upright. Immediately after being fitted with the prosthetic and orthotic, she walked around the room. Realizing the newfound mobility they provided, she wanted to keep them.

As a result of her improved mobility, Schnailove is now able to walk independently to school and church, kick a soccer ball with her friends, and jump rope. She even recently entertained attendees of the Cap-Haïtien National Disability Day with her singing and dancing. With her newly increased independence, Schnailove now dreams of owning and riding her own bicycle!

Want to do something to help other kids like Schnailove regain mobility? Check out our Gift That Gives More dedicated to funding all sorts of prosthetics including corrective braces for a child born with clubfoot, prosthetic leg or arm components for amputees, orthopedic surgery, or even a complete prosthetic limb.

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