Centre at CUT changes lives

2019-06-05 06:00
Makhoesa is not shy to show off his new ear.

Makhoesa is not shy to show off his new ear.

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The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein celebrated the impact that Additive Manufacturing (AM) continues to make in changing people’s lives.

Thanks to a grant from the Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation another life-long change was made in the lives of two people, Princess Moshoane and Skhumbuso Makhoesa.

These two are the latest beneficiaries of the Changing Faces, Changing Lives project. Testimony of the life changing stories was celebrated on 22 May at the institution.

Makhoesa had his live transformed for better by the capable team that designed a prosthetic ear for him, which he wears with confidence. The teenager was born with one normal ear, but the other one was underdeveloped.

Moshoane, a victim of a car hijacking who was shot in the face, has expressed great joy after the successful restoration of her image. She said her life was shattered and she never imagined recovering anytime soon due to the cost of reconstructive surgery.

“I lost my teeth, confidence and smile which took me seven years to get back.

“It was the darkest and most challenging years of my life as I was told that reconstructive surgery is unaffordable.

“At the time, I was a breadwinner at home working at a bank as a consultant, so I knew there was no way I was going to get that sum of money.

“I was devastated and didn’t know what to do,” said Moshoane.

Things brightened when she met Prof. Cules van den Heever, extraordinary Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information at CUT, who forms part of the CRPM.

Prof. Van den Heever helped facilitate the changing of Moshoane’s life. She said through him she met Dr Gerrie Booysen, director at CRPM.

“I was then told that there was a company in Germany that is interested in funding my surgery.

“There was hope, and I knew that God was on my side. I’m smiling and confidence; I no longer hold up my hand to cover my mouth, I’m able to smile again, socialise with people like before and go out with my friends. I am very thankful and happy.

“It has been a long journey and I want to thank Prof. Cules, Dr Gerrie, and the rest of the team for what they have done for me, I will remain forever grateful,” said Moshoane.

The success by CRPM celebrates years of innovation and excellence through 3D printing technology. Booysen said the CRPM’s capabilities in the design and manufacturing of patient-specific implants through 3D-printing have undergone significant strides.

For the past four years, the CRPM has been the beneficiary of the Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation grant to the value of R2,25 million for the Changing Faces, Changing Lives project.

He said through the project many lives of ordinary people have been changed, as well as private health-care facilities.

To date, the centre has designed 17 3D printed implants.

Dr Booysen has applauded the patients for their bravery, courage, willingness and most importantly, for entrusting their lives to them.

He said that the purpose of the four-year project is to focus on this medical niche and the pool of expertise to improve and better the quality of life, of not just state patients but also private patients where there is a backlog of people waiting for operations.

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