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Tibetan amputee moves forward, first with shoe partner, then with new limb

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LHASA-Phuntsok Tsering, 32, once had a wild idea, "How wonderful it would be if I could buy just one shoe at half the price!"

He just needed the right one.

Hailing from a village in Lhasa, capital of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, he lost his left foot in a traffic accident in 2000.

Each time he bought a new pair of shoes, Phuntsok often wished to find someone who needed the left ones. Then he met Ngawang Tendar about two years ago.

They met at a wheelchair basketball game organized by a mutual friend. Ngawang Tendar, 35, had been a doctor in Lhasa for seven years. He lost his right leg when he was 8 due to an accident.

Soon they became friends and "shoe partners" as their feet are the same size.

"After that, whenever we bought new shoes, we would share them," Phuntsok said, adding that they first shared a pair of sneakers, since they both love sports.

Phuntsok used to wear something invented by his father with an old shoe and a piece of tire stitched together. It did not look good, and when he wore it, the left leg was still shorter than the other.

"I'd always dreamed I could walk as I did before the accident," he said. However, a local prosthetics producer disappointed him every time he inquired.

In March, things turned in his favor.

A friend told Phuntsok he could try applying for a free tailor-made artificial limb, as the region earmarks funds for this purpose every year.

"I felt lucky finding a 'shoe partner', and I am now even happier to get my prosthetics for free," he said.

Phuntsok clearly remembers first seeing his artificial limb in a workshop. After checking it out closely, he enthusiastically attached it. Then he took out a new left shoe and put it on for the first time in two decades.

Taking solid, confident steps, he walked back and forth in the workshop, grinning at and thanking everyone along his way.

"He is much more positive than before. He got married to his girlfriend over a month ago, bought a car and has started a new happy life," said Jorlek, one of Phuntsok's friends.

This year, Tibet has spent about 13 million yuan ($2 million) to provide rehabilitation services for the disabled, including assistive devices for 2,900 people, the regional disabled persons' federation said.

"Now, we can offer basic assistive devices to the disabled free of charge to meet their basic needs," said Champa Pedron, who is in charge of assistive devices at Tibet's rehabilitation service center for the disabled.

Ngawang Tendar received his prosthetic limb for free, but it was uncomfortable due to the high amputation position. He still uses a crutch, as more advanced prosthetics are far too expensive for him.

Champa Pedron said more advanced assistive devices would gradually be introduced for the disabled in Tibet. "I hope my shoe partner will get rid of his crutch and embrace a new life as soon as possible," Phuntsok said.


未经允许不得转载:大熊之家绿沃科技 » Tibetan amputee moves forward, first with shoe partner, then with new limb
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