Hope to the limbless

MADAME Grace Cabato, director of the LN-4 Mission Foundation in the Philippines gave an inspiring talk during 30th regular meeting of the Rotary Club of Iloilo at Hotel del Rio last Feb. 15, 2017.

Mrs. Cabato’s passionate call for the Rotary to help distribute functional prosthetics to the needy sans cost on their part extended the spirit of Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14.

She said she wants to distribute 10,000 prosthetic hands in the Philippines in partnership with the Rotary.

“When people lose their limbs, they also lose their confidence and will to live. But when we gave them the prosthetic hands, tears of joy stream down their faces. That’s something money can’t buy,” she said.

But Mrs. Cabato did raise one concern which made me frown – the Bureau of Customs charging fees or duties or whatever on items which are meant for charitable purposes.

We will discuss the foundation’s debacle with the notorious customs bureau in future columns as this needs deeper discussion and more data.

For now, we don’t want the shenanigans of customs personnel dilute or overshadow LN-4’s noble mission.

I am yielding my space to the project history of LN-4 in the hope that we will also raise awareness on their work and catch the attention of persons and organizations who might want to help.




LN-4 Mission:  “We provide a light, durable, functional prosthetic hand to every person who wants one and can benefit from it, and do so at no charge.”

When industrial designer Ernie Meadows and his wife, Marj, lost their daughter, Ellen, Ernie decided to create a legacy to their daughter’s memory.  Ellen died in an automobile accident when she was 18 years old.

Originally Ernie intended to design a functional prosthetic hand for children and adolescent land mine victims.  Over time he developed a design for a low-cost, light, durable, functional prosthetic hand.  He knew that this would help all who need a prosthetic hand and who could not afford the available alternatives.

Our experience today informs us that those who benefit from the LN-4 hand may have been injured by landmines, work accidents, electricity, acts of violence, or a congenital condition.

In 2006 Ernie gave this prosthetic hand to Rotarian friends, specifically to the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation, specifying that no one profit from the production or distribution and that no recipient be charged.

During 2007 our efforts were devoted largely to the development of our manufacturing capability; a few hundred prototype LN-4s were built and distributed before 2007.  The Rotary Clubs of RI District 5160, in northern California, were instrumental in providing the funding support and the Rotarian time and effort to make this our improved manufacturing possible.

Other Rotary clubs and friends have also supported our efforts, with cash and other support, all of which have resulted in the successful production of the parts for the LN-4s and the distribution of over 3500 LN-4 hands, around the globe.   

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