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Mary Free Bed employee helping amputees in underserved areas regain mobility

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Posted at 8:21 PM, Oct 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 15:08:20-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Jim Storms, a prosthetist at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, is using his skills to change lives around the world.

Two years ago, Storms teamed up with Range of Motion Project (ROMP), helping amputees in underserved countries regain their mobility.

"Prosthetics are not cheap item; they're very expensive," Storms told FOX 17 News. "And, if you don't have access to proper prosthetic care, you might have all the ability in the world, but you might not be able to accomplish your goals."

During his first trip with ROMP to Guatemala, Storms was able to make an immediate impact.

"[We] probably provided somewhere around 20 prosthetic legs for various levels of amputees," he said. "From kids to adults, from below-knee amputees to above-knee amputees."

Recently, Storms climbed Cotopaxi, an active volcano in Ecuador, to help ROMP raise $100,000.

Storms, who had no prior climbing experience, also provided support to other climbers during the adventure.

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"About half the team were amputees and half the team was not, so it's pretty amazing and inspiring to see what's capable when you have access to proper prosthetic care," said Storms.

Through its "Components for a Cause" program, ROMP also repurposes old prostheses that can no longer be used in the U.S. to help those in need.

Despite a language barrier on his travels, Storms knows his work is appreciated.

“The gratefulness and thankfulness is always a part of it. But, if I can help somebody get back to their everyday life, that's what I'm in it for.”

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Storms left for another trip to Guatemala Oct. 15.

The Mary Free Bed Guild is sponsoring his trip, along with two colleagues, with the hope that there will be more trips like this in the future.

To learn more about ROMP, click here.

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