Natalya Morkvych joined the Ukraine Prosthetic Assistance Project by pure luck. One of the participants has dropped out 2 days prior to the start of the Project and the organizers were hoping to find a female amputee with the same foot size, build and the same type of amputation as the previous candidate. Natalya contacted the organizers and fit all of the criteria.
Natalya is a paralympic world champion in fencing in wheelchairs. She is 25 and has lost her left leg above the knee in a motor-vehicle accident when she was only 15. She has not been running since and could not even dream of getting back to running.
Until she joined the Ukraine Prosthetic Assistance Project.
The third phase of the Project was taking place in Ukraine between July 24 and Aug 4, 2017 and was focusing on sports and recreation prostheses. The main goal of the Project, as always, was to bring the expertise to Ukraine and teach the local specialists to fit sports prosthetic devices in Ukraine.
An international team of specialists-volunteers from Canada, USA, Australia and Great Britain spent two weeks in Dnipro, Ukraine fitting and training.
“We are here to demonstrated the patient oriented, multidisciplinary approach and help the amputees get back to their favourite sports activities”, - said Laura Burgess, a British physiotherapist, a member of the team.
The Project was funded by the Embassy of Australia in Ukraine, Canada-Ukraine International Assistance Fund, Prosthetika, World Rehabilitation Fund and some private donors.
Altogether, the third phase of the Project delivered 5 lower limb sports prostheses and 8 upper limb sports prostheses.
To date, the Project has brought systemic changes to Ukraine, has trained dozens of local specialists and has helped tens of amputees in a sustainable way.
“This has been one of the most successful missions”, -said Jon Batzdorff, the Project technical director and co-founder.
“We have made a difference yet again, in both the people's lives and in the Ukrainian prosthetic industry”, - added Antonina Kumka, the Project founder.
Natalya and other Project participants-amputees can now enjoy the activities they thought they could never get back to. Ukrainian specialists learnt how to fabricate and fit sports prostheses and how to help amputees use their sports prosthetic devices effectively.
Photos: Valkyrie Tereshkova