Prosthetics Student Helped Bring Hope to Kenyan Children with Limb Loss

Emma Burkhardt with young patient in Kenya taking her first steps with her new prosthesis.

Emma Burkhardt has been on a mission to help people with limb loss and limb differences lead better lives since she was 13 years old. Inspired by the stories of victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Burkhardt is pursuing a career in prosthetics and orthotics. As a second-year student in the Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics program at the University of Hartford, she had the opportunity to travel to Kenya with the Limb Kind Foundation to help children in need of prosthetic limbs.

The Limb Kind Foundation, founded by Robert Schulman, a certified prosthetist, is dedicated to improving the lives of children with limb loss, both domestically and internationally. Schulman has helped thousands of individuals with limb loss regain their independence. He started the foundation in 2018 to make an even bigger impact on the lives of children in need. The organization serves as the only option for many children with limb loss to obtain a prosthesis, providing them with the opportunity to walk, run, and play like other children.

During Burkhardt’s week-long trip to the CURE International Hospital in Kenya, she worked alongside a team of professionals to create prosthetic limbs for children, fit and adjust them, and help celebrate their first steps. CURE Kenya, which opened in 1998 as Africa’s first pediatric orthopedic teaching hospital, performs over 2,500 life-changing reconstructive and orthopedic surgeries for children with treatable disabilities each year. The hospital not only provides world-class clinical service but also ministers to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their communities.

Robert Schulman, CP, Executive Director and Founder of Limb Kind Foundation.

Burkhardt was able to witness the resilience and gratitude of the children who received the new limbs and their families. “Helping the kids in Kenya was truly a life-changing experience,” she said in an interview with the Sentinel & Enterprise. “Although these children had limb loss, it didn’t stop them from being kids,” she said to reporter Cheryl A. Cuddahy. “They still enjoyed playing soccer, going to the playground, and interacting with their peers.”

Burkhardt’s dedication to her education and passion for helping others has led her to a rewarding career path. After completing her master’s program, she will begin a prosthetic residency with the Department of Veterans Affairs, working towards becoming a certified prosthetist orthotist.

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