Last column, I began telling you about Peter and Gracie Rosenberger, who recently appeared on the Today Show.
In 1983, at age 17, Gracie fell asleep while driving, crashed into an Interstate barrier, and flew headfirst into a ravine. She broke about 200 bones below her waist. Then in the mid-’90s, due to severe chronic pain, she chose to have her legs amputated below-knee.
In 2004, she became the first woman with a disability to vocally perform at a national U.S. political convention. She and husband Peter now travel all over serving amputees through their faith-based ministry Standing With Hope.
Said Peter in a telephone interview from Nashville about their ministry: “For one, the Army regularly invites us to participate in functions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Our first visit was in 2003. We meet with the soldiers and their families, and (because of Gracie’s experience) have credibility with the soldiers.”
Besides encouraging soldiers, the Rosenbergers collect prosthetics (artificial limbs) from U.S. donors for custom refitting on people with disabilities worldwide. “One of our clients is the government of Ghana (West Africa),” said Peter. “They’ve been great to work with. They have a national prosthetics center and five clinics. For prosthetics before, they were carving wooden legs, and using the parts from old wooden legs to make new ones.”
Through old prosthetics and monetary donations, the Rosenbergers when visiting Ghana are able to provide each patient with a free limb worth about $7,000 in the U.S. Their limbs use a carbon fiber socket, the kind Gracie wears. Though a Christian ministry, Standing With Hope helps Muslims, too.
“I quit my job six years ago to do this,” said Peter. “And everything (we raise financially) goes into Standing With Hope. We have put our home equity into this. People thought I was crazy.”
Peter said he and Gracie have the greatest jobs in the world. “We get to help people walk,” he said. The two receive donations from prosthetists, and then workers strip the artificial limbs down, take usable parts, and custom-make limbs for individual patients. They’re also working to create an infrastructure within certain countries to help their patients over a lifetime. This fall, they visit China.
“There’s a lot of dysfunction in this broken world we live in,” said Peter, “and we are trying to reach out to others and journey along with them.”
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