During this year's National Student Conclave hosted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), ATI along with the APTA and Move Together joined forces to host the first-ever ‘Build-A-Hand’ Community Service and Social Event.
To kick off the weekend, ATI brought together more than 200 PT students and professionals to build 70 prosthetic hands for below-elbow amputees that were victim to land mines and other accidents in developing countries. The prosthetics built at the event will be distributed at no cost to recipients through the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation.
The ATI Foundation closed out the ‘Build-A-Hand’ volunteer event with a special presentation for two very deserving beneficiaries. The first presentation entailed a donation to Watertown, Mass., resident Toni Calisir, a young teen battling an undiagnosed medical genetic condition similar to muscular dystrophy. Toni’s condition leaves him with weakness from head to toe; he uses a wheelchair most of the time, needs maximum assistant with mobility and is non-verbal.
Toni and his family received an adaptive bike so that Toni can ride with his dad, an activity in which he shows great interest. This enhancement to his daily life will allow Toni to enjoy simple pleasures and outdoor activities just like other teens his age, while also providing him and his family opportunities for bonding and memory making.
The second presentation featured Brian Manning, a former 26-week premature child born four months early with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. At birth, Brian had a grade four brain bleed and was in NICU for over three months. Brian has been fighting all his life – from when he was breathing through a ventilator to when he had a colostomy. He has had brain surgery to remove the right side of his brain and has paralysis on his left side, with fifty percent of his vision lost in each eye.
In order to provide Brian with the care he needs, his mother, Brenda, left her job to stay home and care for all of his needs. In addition to providing for his medical needs, Brenda and her husband, Eric, organize and coach the Watertown Challenger Baseball team. This team allows children with special needs to enjoy “America’s game” alongside volunteers who come out every week to support and cheer on these amazing kids.
The ATI Foundation gifted Brian with a bike similar to the one that was provided to Toni. The Manning’s nominated Toni for this bike after seeing the joy on his face when he saw Brian’s bike.