Prosthetics project a true labor of love
Arch C. Klumph Society members Carol Fellows and Tim Bewley are passionate about the LN-4 prosthetic hand project.
Rotary Images/Monika Lee
Every great love story has passion. What makes a great Rotary love story is that something extra: passion for service. Carol Fellows and Tim Bewley have both, in spades.
The couple, who fell in love when they were both assistant governors in District 5110, will celebrate their first wedding anniversary on 30 June. They are also celebrating a successful trip to Los Angeles to share with Rotarians their other great passion, the LN-4 prosthetic hand.
Fellows and Bewley were among some 150 Arch C. Klumph Society members recognized for their support of The Rotary Foundation at a dinner at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on 16 June.
Bewley learned of the prosthetic device during a 2005 trip to Vietnam. Inspired by how quickly recipients learned to use it and by their joy at regaining their independence, he joined with Fellows and Michael Mendonca, of the Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill, California, USA, to establish a foundation to provide the device at no cost to people with below-elbow limb loss in developing countries.
The LN-4 is controlled by the wearer’s other hand, which makes it easy to use and easy to fit. Fellows, a physician, noted that it has a much higher rate of acceptance among users than some of the more technically advanced prosthetic devices more common in the United States.
"The best part was when some of our former recipients came and trained the new recipients," Fellows says. "One day in Uganda, we looked over and saw that one of our recipients was teaching another to tie his shoes."
The project got a boost at the 2007 RI Convention in Salt Lake City, when then RI President Bill Boyd named it among his favorite three projects in the Rotary world. Bewley says they are continuing to connect with Rotary. "We happily accept donations," he says. The LN-4 group, a joint project of districts 5110 and 5160 (Oregon and California), also can help clubs find partners for Matching Grants .
"We would not be where we are today," Bewley emphasizes, "without the support of District 5160," which contributed $200,000 to the project last year, under the leadership of District Governor Candy Pierce.
Bewley’s plan is that Rotary clubs will work together to provide LN-4s to clinics where the need for prosthetic hands is great. "We’re looking for sustainability. We want to get host countries involved," he says.
But the couple’s passions don’t stop there. Last year, Fellows and Bewley decided to make a gift to the Foundation to fund an endowed Rotary World Peace Fellowship .
"We’re not wealthy," Fellows says, "but we’re both passionate about the Foundation." They also believe that those who are able to give should put the money to work right away.
"When you are looking at the quality of life of others around the world, if you are going the walk the talk, you are going to take risks," she says. "Rather than holding on and protecting, you need to do what it takes to make it better for others."
Find out how to get involved with the LN-4 prosthetic hand project at www.ln-4.org .