Help with crutches crisis: The Herald

Amputees go extra mile to aid patients left stranded

There is no time to sit around and complain. We had to take action

TWO Port Elizabeth amputees, one an octogenarian, have managed to do what Livingstone Hospital could not – gather crutches and walkers for patients in need. Earlier this month, the hospital ran out of crutches and while many complained, blamed and moaned, Peter Morris and Brian Paddey got into their cars and started collecting crutches and walkers.

Eastern Cape health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo confirmed last week that the western part of the Eastern Cape was in need of 5 000 pairs of crutches and that a national supplier could not keep up with the demand, mainly due to the high number of amputations linked to diabetes complications.

Attempts to acquire 5 000 pairs of crutches from another supplier proved unsuccessful as they could only deliver at the end of next month.

A local supplier could supply 300 pairs but they had a problem with the handles.

Paddey, 61, of the Amputee Support Group, said he had been overwhelmed by people’s generosity after the story was published in The Herald.

“We delivered the first eight pairs of crutches last week and then yesterday we brought another 25 and a walker,” he said.

Paddey and Morris yesterday handed the crutches over to the physiotherapy department at Livingstone Hospital.

Paddey said he had travelled across the metro to collect crutches.

“I was phoned by people from Schoenmakerskop to KwaDwesi,” he said.

Morris, 83, who started the Amputee Support Group in Port Elizabeth in 2004, said they were on a roll now and called for more donations.

He lost his leg in 2004 but said he had been determined not to let this define his life.

“Crutches are a lifeline for people who have had amputations.

“If there are no crutches at a hospital, there is no time to sit around and complain. We had to take action,” Morris said.

“It astonishes me that we have to struggle to raise money for this cause in Nelson Mandela Bay. Almost all our funding comes from overseas.”

Paddey said the generosity of people in the metro was incredible.

“One of our donors is a little girl who was hurt about a year ago and she brought her two pink crutches for a little girl in need,” he said.

Kupelo said they were delighted by the donation.

The DA’s Celeste Barker said she was impressed by the pair’s care and attitude.

“We salute you for being the change we want to see.

“I want to invite all the residents of the metro to follow your example and donate spare crutches,” she said.

To donate a pair of crutches, phone Peter Morris on 079-895-0968 or Brian Paddey on 083-251-0624. — ellise@tisoblackstar.co.za