The picture above is worth a thousand words. Look at the condition of those crutches these amputees are using. Anyone who has ever had to use a pair of crutches even temporarily knows how difficult and exhausting it can be to get around on them, and that is with a functional pair of crutches in good repair. My fellow full-time crutch users, you know how essential a functional pair of crutches are to the quality and productivity of your life. Trying to ambulate on a pair of crutches with no tips and rapidly deteriorating shafts would not only be extremely difficult, but painful and dangerous too. A good functional pair of crutches should not be a want; it is a need to anyone who is suffering a disability in which a pair of crutches would allow them mobility. Yet in the West African country of Sierra Leone, a staggering number of amputees and polio victims are reduced to crawling on the ground to get from place to place and a pair of crutches is an unattainable luxury.
Sierra Leone is home to 20% of the world’s amputees and tens of thousands of polio victims. Just to reiterate how high this percentage is, the World Health Organization estimates that 10% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. The high percentage of amputees in Sierra Leone is the result of a decade of civil war in which a trademark of rebel groups was to hack off the limbs of civilians. Living in severe poverty and without any government assistance these people have been left helpless, without something as basic as a pair of crutches to simply move their body from one place to another. Last year The Piece Project, a non-profit organization based in California, distributed 10,000 pairs of crutches to many of these people, providing them with mobility, dignity and equality. While there are still many more people in need of crutches in Sierra Leone, the people using the 10,000 pairs of crutches that were distributed are now in desperate need of crutch tip replacements. While The Peace Project continues to distribute the much needed crutches, an ongoing effort is needed to keep these crutches functional.
Typical adjustable crutches have a short lifespan when being used full-time daily. The basic tips on a pair of typical crutches last a month or two with full-time use. The rubber tips of the crutch users of Sierra Leone are long gone and the bottoms of the crutch shafts are deteriorating without the protection of tips. These crutches are quickly becoming unusable and the crutch users of Sierra Leone will once again lose their mobility.
Not having crutch tips means:
- Loss of traction and any shock absorption
- Higher risk of falling, causing other injury
- Pain and structural damage to hands and shoulders
- Rapid degradation of the much needed crutches, causing crutches to become unusable
These people do not have access to new crutches, tips or any other parts to repair and keep their crutches safe and functional. Imagine being given a gift of mobility only to have it taken from you just a few months later. Thomas Fetterman, a crutch user and inventor of new crutch tip technology, has teamed up with The Peace Project to help solve this problem. He has created The Peace Tip Project, which will be an effort to keep the crutch users of Sierra Leone upright and mobile by providing them with crutch tips and other necessary crutch repairs. Thomas Fetterman has developed a long-lasting rubber crutch tip (peace tip) to replace the worn-out crutch tips. These high quality crutch tips will go a long way to helping the crutch users of Sierra Leone. To make The Peace Tip Project happen funds are needed not only for the crutch tips, but also to find a way to distribute these crutch tips to all the crutch users in Sierra Leone.
As a full-time crutch user, I know the immense value crutches provide to my life and I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have access to functional crutches and all the parts that routinely need replacing. So, I have taken on the initiative of assisting Mr. Fetterman and The Piece Project to find ways to fund the Peace Tips.
My first effort is in asking you not only to make a donation to The Peace Tip Project, but also to please share this article through email, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media you might use. The more people this message reaches, the more donations will be possible. With your help Peace Tips will be distributed free to developing nations where crutch tips of any quality are almost nonexistent.
Your small donation will supply an adult with mobility to work or care for their family or give a child the ability to walk upright. Having functional crutches will give equality, dignity and mobility to the people of Sierra Leone who are unable to walk without a pair of crutches.
To make a tax deductible donation, please go to: The Peace Project http://www.thepeaceproject.com/peace-tips