Hi everyone, welcome to my blog. Throughout my Duke Engage project, I’ll use this to post my thoughts about exciting news, mundane updates, challenges I’m overcoming, and reflective lessons. My goal is to write every day of my project, but I know I’ll be busy so we’ll see if that actually happens. Alrighty, here we go!
So, for those of you who don’t know, this summer I will be working for the Range of Motion Project in Quito, Ecuador during June and July. The Range of Motion Project, or ROMP for short, “is a non-profit, for-impact healthcare organization dedicated to providing prosthetic and orthotic care to those without access to these services.” I’m going with one other Duke student, and we’ll be working on a variety of projects like strength testing fabricated parts and designing new prosthetic components. As a student fascinated by the complexities of biomedical engineering, and global health, I can’t be more excited to work, learn, and contribute with ROMP over the next several weeks.
As I prepare to leave next Wednesday, I’ve been thinking lots about ROMP’s mission:
ROMP’s mission is to eliminate ambulatory disability by providing a preferential option in orthotic and prosthetic care. By supplying prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces to those who do not have access to these services, we aim to return patients to their families and communities as productive, healthy individuals.
ROMP believes in mobility. I’ve never really though before about how much mobility means to human life. As I pondered this nebulous idea, I tried to imagine a life in which I lacked mobility. Think about it for yourself. Imagine what your life would look like if you couldn’t walk, couldn’t ride a bike, or couldn’t drive. For me, it’s terrifying! So much of my life requires mobility. If I was immobile, I couldn’t go to my school which is 938 miles away. I couldn’t travel or explore. I couldn’t head over to a friend’s house. Mobility is vital to us as humans because it allows us to learn, explore, and connect with others.
So, when I saw statistics on ROMP’s website that 80% of amputees live in developing countries and only 2% of these have access to care, the mission clicked for me. The mobility of amputees is not disabled by a missing limb, but by a missing prosthesis, ROMP points out. Prosthetic care can break the poverty, vulnerability, disability cycle.
I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to help to enable others’ mobility this summer. For some incredible stories about ROMP’s patients, mission, and work, watch the video below: