Life changing events can have a silver lining, for 11 year old Sayani in Nepal there is hope for the future.
Losing a lower limb for most people is a life changing event, but what if you were an 11 year old Girl and you live in one of the poorest countries in the world, it’s pretty daunting.
Earlier this year Sayani, who lives in the Pokhara region of Nepal, lost her limb below the knee due to complications after a fracture. Sadly, her family is too poor, and with their village being remote, access prosthetic care is very difficult to come by.
Sadly again, there are many Nepalese in Sayani’s situation.
But before I talk more about Sayani, let me give you some background about my life changing events and how they intersect with Sayani.
As you may know, I’ve had a fairly significant life changing event that also led to the loss of a limb. However, you probably don’t know that I actually had another life changing event, that in a way, is linked to the work we now do in Nepal.
When I was twelve, I was lucky enough to travel to Nepal with my Grandfather. It was an experience that quite literally changed my life, one that started me on a path, and one that I think, would ultimately end up saving my life when I had to call on all my experiences to stay alive!
You see, I fell in love with the outdoors and in particular tramping, hiking and mountaineering because of my Nepal experience and my Grandfather who was a bit of an explorer at heart!
The remoteness and rugged beauty of Nepal lit a fire in me that continues to this day. That is to say, maximise every opportunity to experience every aspect of what we are truly blessed with on this planet, namely the great outdoors!
A love of Mountaineering and the Great Outdoors
I was fortunate to have an active childhood born of an adventurous spirit I guess. As I got older, the adventures got more involved and complex. And one day, in September 2007, I set off with my best friend James Christie, to climb to the summit of Mt Ruapehu in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand.
We were fully aware that Mt Ruapehu is an active volcano, but there were no alarm bells as Ruapehu had been quiet and it is home to the largest ski fields in the country so seismic activity is monitored 24/7. We had all the right equipment. We were young, fit and prepared, or so we thought.
That night we bunked down in the Dome Shelter, a hut on the upper slopes of the mountain. I will never forget what happened next.
We were woken by thunderous sounds of a volcanic explosion, of large boulders crashing into the hut. And then, the unlucky impact, the life changing event for me. A boulder came through the ceiling, smashing my leg and pinning me under it.
I don’t remember much of what happened next. I do know that James left me to seek help and ran down the mountain in the dark, while the volcano continued its eruption.
I owe my life to James and members of the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue team. It is a debt I can never repay, but one, I am sure they would never expect me to.
The Road Back
It was a long, painful recovery for me and there were many times when I was tested. But I never gave up. I had been given a gift, a second chance at life.
Through the years, and as I have adapted my life to suit my circumstances, I have never lost my love of the outdoors. And to this day, I still do all the things I love – tramping, hiking, rock climbing, scuba diving, cycling and kayaking – doing it all with an artificial limb.
The Pro Armour Lite
After many years of battling the limitations of artificial limbs when you lead such an active life, in 2020, my wife and I started Pro Armour, short for Prosthetic Armour.
The Pro Armour Lite protects the prosthetic limb from deterioration caused by sand, dirt, grit, etc. the bain of every amputee’s life.
Making A Difference with the Limb Care Nepal Foundation and ‘Support To Stand’
I have always been the type of person to give back to the community and society in general.
From the outset when we started Pro Armour, I planned for a percentage of each Pro Armour sale to go back to those in need and to start where it all began for me, in Nepal.
As mentioned, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, but the people there have some of the strongest strength of spirit I have ever encountered.
However, as you can imagine for the Nepalese, access to healthcare at the level I experienced is extremely limited and rehabilitation is challenging to say the least. Most below the knee amputees in Nepal spend their life on crutches, most don’t get the luxury of a prosthetic limb.
My desire is to change that, and so my wife and I have partnered with the Limb Care Nepal Foundation to make a difference with the ‘Support To Stand’ project.
Not only will we donate a percentage of each Pro Armour sale to ‘Support to Stand‘, we invite those that want to help further to denote a prosthetic limb and provide support for 3-years to maintain the limb.
How we came to support Sayani
And so, this leads us back to Sayani.
Our friends at Limb Care Nepal identify those in need, and that’s how we came into contact with Sayani.
As you can imagine, it’s a pretty traumatic experience to lose a limb especially for an 11 year old girl.
But Sayani is a brave and strong girl, and now that she has received her limb, she is getting used to it and the mobility it gives to her life. There is no doubt that without it Sayani’s life would be very different.
Through my connection with Nepal that began when I was 12, things have gone full circle. We have changed Sayani’s life by sponsoring her first limb and 3 years of follow up care. We’re incredibly proud of this and we’ll keep you updated with her progress and other amputees that we sponsor.
If you would like to contribute to the ‘Support To Stand’ fund and change someone’s life for as little as US$1,600 you can get in contact with us via our contact form.