EDMOND — The $353,011 raised by Edmond Memorial High School students during Swine Week will provide limbs for 140 amputees, Limbs for Life Chairman Doug Brooks said.
Senior Alex Wileman, a student chairman for Swine Week, said students chose Limbs for Life because of the wide range of people the charity helps.
“The organization is not specific to age or gender. We'll be helping a wide range of people from a baby born without a limb to a war veteran who lost one,” Wileman said.
The organization was one of 25 charities that applied to be the Swine Week beneficiary. The choice was made by the student council and Swine Week chairmen.
Wileman, who wants to be a physical therapist, said her involvement with Swine Week “is something that I will never, ever forget. It's my favorite memory from high school, ever.”
Limbs for Life is “designed to bring restoration to the lives of amputees who can't afford prosthetic care,” said Lucy Fraser, interim director of the organization. Prosthetic limbs can cost from $10,000 to $72,000.
Fraser said the majority of people helped by the group are nonveterans. Veterans who need prosthetic limbs often get them through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The new limbs come at reduced cost from providers “who agree to accept what we pay,” Fraser said. “They agree to accept our donation as the total amount the client will pay.”
Some amputees lack insurance coverage and others find that their insurance company will only pay for one limb in a lifetime, Fraser said.
Getting a prosthetic limb “gives them the opportunity to return to a productive lifestyle,” Fraser said.
Prosthetic limbs “wear out and they need to be replaced,” Fraser said. In the case of children, “it's like clothing — they grow and it must be replaced more frequently,” she said.
Students found it “moving and powerful” that they might be able to help more than 100 people get back to a more normal life, said Josh DeLozier, student council adviser.
Fraser observed some of the fundraising activities, including an auction and golf tournament at Coffee Creek Golf Course.
“To see these students at work is pretty incredible. They're like a well-oiled machine,” Fraser said.
Activities included a dodge ball tournament, talent show, children's carnival and concert and an outdoor food fight. Students also contacted family members, friends and businesses to solicit donations.
Swine Week got its start in 1986, when students decided to try to raise $3,000 for a child who needed a kidney transplant. The principal agreed to kiss a pig if students were successful in raising the money.
All three of Edmond's high schools hold annual charity fundraisers.
For more information on the Limbs for Life Foundation go to: www.limbsforlife.org/.