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Prosthetic Limbs Needed for Donation to Philippines

"It would be great to be able to actually give that to another person and have them be able to have a functional life again."

FREDERICK, Md. - Hundreds of people in the Philippines need prosthetic devices after an earthquake nearly destroyed the country this month, but the citizens can't afford them. However, a local business is helping the people who need prosthetics so they can to return to work and live to the fullest.

Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics is teaming up with Physicians for Peace to collect used prosthetics. 

"Currently, we're doing a donation where we're actually contacting the public to have them bring in their prosthetic devices that they're no longer using," said John Jacobs, a certified prosthetic orthotist with Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Each donated prosthesis is broken down into smaller pieces and then shipped out to the Philippines.

"It's an undeserved area," Jacobs said. "A lot of the patients there who are amputees would never have an opportunity to be fit with a type of knee like this. They might have a very simplistic knee, and this gives them the opportunity to be fitted with something that's state of the art."  

According to the World Health Organization, 30 percent of people with disabilities in the Philippines could go back to work if they had a prosthetic for a missing limb. The earthquake made the need in the Philippines even greater. 

"Prosthetic devices are very expensive," Jacobs said. "Typically in most of those countries, patients don't have the insurance, and the devices can still be utilized for many more years. A lot of times people don't have access to these devices in third world countries."

Many people don't have access to prosthetic devices because those at ability say they can cost around $15,000. 

"We deal with patients here in the United States all the time who have access too all of this great technology, and we just know there's a lot of it just sitting around a house somewhere," Jacobs said. "It would be great to be able to actually give that to another person and have them be able to have a functional life again."

Jacobs hopes the donation drive will help more people in the Philippines achieve their dreams.

The donation drive runs through the end of November. You can donate prosthetics at the offices in Frederick, Hagerstown, and Gettysburg. For information on how you can donate, click here. 

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