-Personal Odyssey about the Build-A-Hand Program by Bill John, President / CEO / Co-Founder of Odyssey Teams
March 11, 2019; South Africa – We had the most AMAZING day yesterday fitting hands on three people and leaving 15 hands for a clinic here in South Africa. Once a organization completes a Build-A-Hand / Helping Hands program, the staff at Odyssey Teams get the honor of hand-delivering the prosthetic arms to people in need.
This is Dellon, and he lost his arm in 2014 by broken glass from a window that lead to an infection. We met him in a room where about 15 others gathered to watch the fitting. Thank goodness we had the extension; I could only hope that he had enough residual limb for it to fit. He did. Because he has such a small residual limb, I discussed with him that the functionality would be limited but he could still carry items.
Dellon’s smiles were reserved but he warmed up fast and we had some good laughs talking about his new role as The Terminator. I told him that he could put on a long sleeve shirt if he wanted to cover it. The room started to buzz with excitement and I saw tears coming down the face of one of the older women. Then, Dellon’s sister spoke to us with the kindest words of gratitude that teared everyone up. Then, Dellon began crying. Happy tears.
All 15 of the people who came to watch were his family. All had shared this tragedy with him. They said the hospital could not help him any further. One of his aunts began singing and everyone joined in and followed up the song with the most amazing prayer – half sung, half spoken, ALL FEELING. Two hours later, on our drive back, we got a text that Dellon was still crying. He was so happy to feel more whole and complete. Then, the pictures started coming in of him with his new sense of confidence.
I hope this reminds you of how special all of this and Helping Hands is. There are so many stories like this that we may never get to hear. Dellon is my friend. He is a friend of all of us. And he is very happy.