Did you know you can give the Gift of Mobility for Christmas?

ChristmasA simple orthotic or prosthetic device can be just that gift

A vehicle will be equipped with the necessary tools, materials, and equipment to make evaluations, repairs, adjustments, and fittings.
A vehicle will be equipped with the necessary tools, materials and equipment to make evaluations, repairs, adjustments and fittings.

By Katie Leatherwood

RIGA, Latvia – It is the time of year that we remember the greatest gift ever given, Jesus Christ. This Christmas, I reflect on the many gifts I have received since coming to Latvia: new friends, a church family, financial support and answered prayers are just a few.

Mobility is something most of us take for granted. It’s not something that we typically think can be given as a gift.  A simple orthotic or prosthetic device can be just that gift. Prosthetic and Orthotic devices can impact a life by empowering independence and functionality, enabling a person to become more mobile.

A prosthetic is a device that replaces a missing limb, while an orthotic supports, aligns and stabilizes a limb that is intact.

Many people in Latvia are impacted by physical disability and have not been given the opportunity to live beyond that disability. An O&P Mobile Care Unit will provide Orthotic and Prosthetic (O&P) access to the many people who, unable to travel to the city for O&P care, ‘fall through the gaps’. These people are often denied service due to diagnosis or other factors but could greatly benefit from O&P intervention. Most live in rural areas, not easily accessible by public transportation.

Watch this brief video of Katie explaining this vision.
Watch this brief video of Katie explaining this vision.

Why is an O&P Mobile Care Unit needed?
Through the O&P Mobile Care Unit, I hope to ‘fill-in-the-gaps’ with adjustments, repairs or new device fabrications. The O&P Mobile Care Unit will provide access to O&P services to those who are unable to travel to the city for governmental O&P services.

For the past eight years I have seen the benefits that prosthetic or orthotic devices can provide for people with degenerative disorders and many other issues in improving quality of life.

In addition to O&P services, this mobile unit will also allow me to visit those that are unable to leave home due to the severity of their disability, bring the love of Jesus Christ to them and form authentic relationships.

What is needed for an O&P Mobile Care Unit?
A vehicle will be equipped with the necessary tools, materials and equipment to make evaluations, repairs, adjustments and fittings. This vehicle will have the necessary cargo space for theses things but also have seating for translators, students and others that want to be involved.

How will you find the people that need O&P help?
The people I intend to help will come from personal referrals that know about the Designed to Live ministry and are wanting to receive the help. This is important because the primary goal of providing these services, would be not only a physical one, but to most importantly build relationships with the people, show them God’s love and share His message to all that are helped.

Katie (right) and her friend Karina, recently celebrated Lāčpēša Day, a Latvian version of Veterans Day, together.
Katie (right) and her friend Karina, recently celebrated Lāčpēša Day, a Latvian version of Veterans Day, together.

What do the local O&P practitioners think?
I have been in collaboration with many of the Latvian O&P practitioners. They are all aware of the O&P Mobile Care Unit plan and support it. I have made it clear that it is not my intention to take any business from their practices but rather help those that would not be able to see them because of travel barriers and/or diagnosis factors.

Are you doing this alone?
Not only is God going before me and orchestrating everything, I am also blessed to have some Latvians helping me. Currently there are three Latvians that are “on my team”, an O&P practitioner, an O&P student and a physical therapist. Their help and insight have been a great blessing and will help this ministry be a sustainable and efficient one.

I ask that you consider giving the Gift of Mobility this Christmas by helping fund the O&P Mobile Care Unit. Your financial gift will actually give hope to many under-served and marginalized people. Without your support and God’s direction, this ministry would not be possible. I am excited to see God use the Designed to Live O&P Mobile Care Unit as a pathway to share His love and message.

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