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Donations help kids with limb deficiencies
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Photo courtesy of INNER WHEEL
Rotary Club members participate in check presentations for Inner Wheel Feb. 20.
DUNEDIN – Inner Wheel of Dunedin North celebrated its annual foundation dinner with g news that will change the lives of more children with upper limb deficiencies.

The club received a $23,125 missions grant from the First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin, a $2,000 grant from the Dunedin Rotary Club, and a $1,000 grant from the Dunedin North Rotary Club at the Feb. 20 event.

All of the money will be designated toward the National Inner Wheel’s Happier Futures campaign to fit children who have upper limb deficiencies with myoelectric arms.

The custom battery-powered prostheses use electronic sensors to trigger motion through the user’s muscle movements, much like a natural limb.

The donated myoelectric arms have enabled an 18-year-old who lost his arm to an alligator in 2012 to be able to return to fishing, a 6-year-old to enjoy his favorite video games again, and a young woman in Portland, Ore., to fulfill her dream of playing the cello.

“We’re always happy when we know our grant money will get results,’’ said Dr. Welch Agnew of the Dana Beck Fancher Missions Committee of First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin, in a press release. “We know the money we give helps get results for people in need.” The committee approves all grants awarded from an endowment named after its benefactor, a longtime member of the church.

Dan Strzempka of Hanger Prosthetics, which partners with Inner Wheel to provide myoelectric arms to children under age 18 across the country, made a presentation.

“You give them back your life,” Strzempka said, as images of beaming youngsters and teenagers with new prostheses flashed on the screen. “All of a sudden you infuse them with confidence … It’s amazing what that does for entire families.”

IWUSA Foundation Chairman Gill Broadaway recognized Inner Wheel of Dunedin North for contributing $63,000 since its inception to the foundation. As of October 2013, the foundation had assisted 58 children with upper limb deficiencies and 10 more are on the waiting list.

“It’s just so good to see visually how we’re helping these children,” Broadaway said, noting that IWUSA Foundation, Inc. has provided more than $1 million in prostheses since 2004.

Children who receive prostheses are tracked by Inner Wheel until they reach age 18. Insurance rarely covers refittings which are required every year, sometimes even more frequently, during childhood.

The average cost for a myoelectric limb fitting is $9,000, Broadaway said.

The rest of the expense – training, physical therapy and occupational therapy – is donated through Hanger.
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