Support group aids amputees

2019-01-30 06:01
Patrick Wilkie and the manager of the Amputee Support Group in Port Elizabeth, Brian Paddey. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

Patrick Wilkie and the manager of the Amputee Support Group in Port Elizabeth, Brian Paddey. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

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AFTER surviving a tragic motorcycle accident and learning to live with a prosthetic leg, Brian Paddey has committed himself to helping hundreds of people in similar situations through the Amputee Support Group (ASG) in Port Elizabeth.

Paddey was injured in a motorcycle accident eight years ago, which resulted in his right leg being amputated.

After 29 operations, three months in Life St George’s Hospital and a new prosthetic leg, Paddey relearned how to walk and drive his car.

“At first, I was not sure how my life would be after losing my leg. After surviving something like this, it changes your perspective on life and really helps define what’s important.”

According to Paddey, all amputees should have a steady support system, which is vital for recovery and learning to accept the new change.

“At ASG, we support amputees and their families and try to prepare them for what’s to come. When you suddenly realise that you’re going to lose your leg, or any limb for that matter, it’s a hard pill to swallow. That’s our primary focus - to prepare and encourage amputees,” Paddey said.

This non-profit and public benefit organisation is manned by amputee volunteers, who depend on donations to assist other amputees.

After Paddey conquered his personal goals, his motivation turned towards helping other local amputees.

“I always tell other amputees that they are the same person as before they lost their limb. They will just have to do things a bit differently and adapt to the new lifestyle changes. Life goes on and it’s not the end of the world,” Paddey said.

An ASG member, Patrick Wilkie, has been motivated by Paddey since losing a part of his left leg due to diabetes in 2017.

“When the gangrene started in my toes, the doctors had to amputate my foot. After a while my leg was amputated below the knee. I struggled at first, but came to terms with my amputation. ”

ASG has assisted many amputees like Paddey and Wilkie and continues to visit hospitals around the city to motivate other amputees by sharing their stories.

“ASG has helped me a lot to overcome my fears and also taught me great life lessons on how to move forward with positivity. It has truly shaped me into a completely different person,” Wilkie said.

The organisation strives to provide care and counselling to amputees and their families and to procure sponsorship for the purchase of prostheses and walking aids for underprivileged amputees, and to fund their daily activities.

Paddy added, “As a non-profit organisation, we depend on donations to be able to help other amputees. The purchase of prostheses is very expensive and we try to donate as much as we can. Not everyone has medical aid and not all state hospitals are able to provide wheelchairs and crutches.”

ASG has assisted many amputees in the city with prosthetics, wheelchairs and crutches.

“Before discharging amputees from hospitals, they have to be mobile. We urge the community to donate any unused wheelchairs and crutches – it might just save someone’s life,” Paddey said.

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