A leg up on life: Tech helps former Rwandan orphan give back

Claudine Humure, of Rwanda, takes a step with her new prosthetic leg as Arthur Graham, prosthetist at Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics, looks on, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Newton, Mass. Humure was orphaned during her country's genocide and lost part of her leg to childhood cancer. Her new leg was provided free by the prosthetic clinic and features the latest in artificial limb technology. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
1 / 5Rwandan AmputeeClaudine Humure, of Rwanda, takes a step with her new prosthetic leg as Arthur Graham, prosthetist at Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics, looks on, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Newton, Mass. Humure was orphaned during her country’s genocide and lost part of her leg to childhood cancer. Her new leg was provided free by the prosthetic clinic and features the latest in artificial limb technology. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

NEWTON, Mass. (AP) — She was orphaned during Rwanda’s genocide and lost much of one of her legs to childhood cancer, but Claudine Humure has dreams of giving back to her once war-torn homeland.

First, though, she needed a new leg to propel her on the next part of her journey.

The 29-year-old, who spent some of her formative years in Massachusetts, including receiving cancer treatment and her first artificial limb, recently returned to the state to get fitted with a new prosthesis.

At Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics in the Boston suburb of Newton on Monday, she strode purposely up and down the spacious facility and on the courtyard outside, giving it a final test run.

“It feels easier to walk on. I don’t know if it’s natural. It’s been so long I don’t remember what natural feels like,” Humure said to laughs.

The artificial leg she’s had the last four years took a beating on Rwanda’s hilly terrain. The knee joint no longer moved smoothly. Duct tape held together the socket connecting the artificial appendage to her surviving limb.

Humure's new prosthetic — provided free by the clinic — features the latest in artificial leg technology, her longtime prosthetist said as he monitored and tweaked the device’s performance remotely.

The microprocessor-driven knee can quickly sense and respond as Humure shifts her body weight from one leg to the other, creating a more natural gait, Arthur Graham said. The device’s foot is also adjustable so she can easily transition from sneakers to high heels and other shoe styles.

There aren’t many places in the East African nation that can handle such technology, which costs more than $40,000 per unit. So Graham has provided Humure advice on how to maintain her prosthetics on her own over the years.

Humure said the experience inspired her to pursue a career in prosthetics. She’ll soon be enrolling in a graduate program at the University of Washington in Seattle, and hopes to eventually open a nonprofit clinic providing affordable prosthetics to fellow Rwandans.

The 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered by extremist Hutus, left a large number of people handicapped, she said. There’s also been an increasing number of severe road accidents in the country of nearly 13 million people.

Yet many amputees are still making do with improperly fitting devices or self-made systems because of the high cost of quality prosthetics, Humure said.

“I have been privileged to wear some of the most advanced prosthetics that a lot of Rwandans do not have access to,” she said. “No one should be denied the right to stand on two feet and the ability to move around independently.”

Boston has played an outsized role in Humure’s life after her father was killed in the genocide and her mother died in childbirth shortly after. When Humure first came to the city, she was 12 years old, wheelchair-bound and living in an orphanage. She had most of her right leg removed to treat bone cancer, but needed further treatments as the cancer spread.

Partners In Health, the global health care organization founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, arranged to have her flown to Massachusetts General Hospital for chemotherapy. Doctors at the Boston institution also reconstructed her amputated leg so it could better fit into a prosthetic.

A Boston couple soon became Humure’s legal guardians, and she returned to attend high school and then Wheaton College in Norton, where she graduated in 2017 with a biology degree.

While at college, she interned at MIT’s Media Lab, helping with its research on advanced prosthetics. She also interned at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, working with recent amputees, including some of the survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Long since cancer-free, Humure has been living in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, and working at the University of Global Health Equity.

“Yes, I went through a lot,” she says. “But I would not have gotten through anything without all the people who have supported me along the way.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Bredell: Bird flu outbreak among WC wild seabirds could continue for weeks

© Pixabay.com CAPE TOWN – Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell on Tuesday said there were fears an outbreak of bird flu among wild seabirds could continue for weeks. Dead and ... Read more »

Covid emergency lockdown laws extended by SIX MONTHS amid fears of winter surge

MPs agreed to extend the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act until April. It is the third time the Commons has given their approval to the emergency legislation. A simple ... Read more »

Exercise: A drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure

Your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) increases with age, but getting some exercise can make a big difference. And if your blood pressure is already high, exercise can help ... Read more »

COVID-19 vs. flu: Similarities and differences

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have heard that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is similar to the flu (influenza). COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious respiratory diseases caused by ... Read more »

COVID-19 and high blood pressure: Am I at risk?

Answer Section High blood pressure is a serious condition. Left untreated, it can lead to many other health issues. Health risks linked to high blood pressure include heart disease, stroke ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: US expected to authorise mix-and-match booster shots

Federal regulators are expected to authorise the mixing and matching of Covid-19 booster doses this week to provide flexibility as the campaign for extra shots expands. The upcoming announcement by ... Read more »

Shoppers Say This $10 L'Oreal Collagen Cream 'Acts As a Filler' to Smooth and Plump Skin

© Provided by Health Amazon – Design: Alex Sandoval Chances are, you’ve probably heard of the buzzy, anti-aging, skincare ingredient collagen. If you’re not super familiar with it, you should ... Read more »

Procter & Gamble said it's seen a spike in sales of over-the-counter medicine as cold and flu season makes a comeback

© Provided by Business Insider Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images Procter & Gamble is seeing a spike in demand for products like cold medicine compared to last year. ... Read more »

Mixing Covishield and Covaxin More Effective, No Side Effects: ICMR Study

© Provided by News18 Mixing Covishield and Covaxin More Effective, No Side Effects: ICMR Study A recent clinical study by a team of researchers from ICMR (Indian Council of Medical ... Read more »

Toxic Beetroot Juice Cocktail That Mimics Human Blood Can Fool Mosquitoes, Kill Them

© Provided by News18 Toxic Beetroot Juice Cocktail That Mimics Human Blood Can Fool Mosquitoes, Kill Them In an attempt to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases, researchers have created a toxic blood ... Read more »

These FAQs can help you know your vaginal health better

Your vagina undergoes several changes throughout your life. That is why it is important to spot the signs and symptoms to know if something is amiss, and  take appropriate care. ... Read more »

Top reasons why you should not avoid eating rice

© Provided by The Indian Express Not eating rice or cutting down its consumption is among the first things many of us want to do when it comes to shedding ... Read more »

Natural immunity or Covid-19 vaccination – what's your pick to be safe during the pandemic?

With the vaccination drive in full swing, the number of Covid-19 cases has reduced in India. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to be cautious! It is still imperative ... Read more »

Five things that can ensure a good night's sleep

© Provided by The Indian Express Sleep is an important aspect of everyday functioning, which helps in keeping the body healthy, and the mental and emotional health of a person ... Read more »

What is panic attack? Here are common signs you must know

American singer and songwriter Miley Cyrus recently felt a panic attack was going to grip her in a middle of performance and eased her fears by talking to the audience. ... Read more »

Crunchy, organic pecan nuts to help you lose weight

The pecan nuts owing to their contoured structure, buttery flavour and crunchy texture make for an attractive ingredient to add to a range of delicacies. The nuts are healthy for ... Read more »

Crunchy peanut butter options for a delightful breakfast

Peanut butter is a breakfast delight for many individuals across the globe. Consuming this butter suppresses hunger which results in weight loss. It keeps your heart healthy and lowers the ... Read more »

FDA: Consumers could buy less-expensive hearing aids without a prescription under new rule

Millions of American with mild to moderate hearing loss would be able to buy hearing aids at stores or online without a doctor’s referral under a Food and Drug Administration ... Read more »

Gauteng's Makhura urges parties to promote vaccination while on campaign trails

© @GautengProvince/Twitter FILE: Gauteng Premier David Makhura. JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng Premier David Makhura has urged political parties to use their election campaigns to promote vaccination. On Monday, the premier said ... Read more »

COVID-19 | 210 new cases recorded in SA

© Provided by eNCA JOHANNESBURG – The National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported 210 new COVID-19 cases in South Africa. The institute also confirmed 7 more COVID-19 related deaths, taking ... Read more »

Relief for patients and their families as strict hospital visits eased

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Cape Town – The Western Cape department of Health has eased the strict visits to hospitals, much to the relief of patient family members. ... Read more »

Public Service Commission pushes for round-the-clock anti-corruption hotline

© Provided by Cape Times Cape Town – If the Public Service Commission (PSC) has its way, its hotline for the public to report suspected acts of corruption will operate ... Read more »

SA health system corruption sparks protest to Union Buildings

Protestors speak of ignorance, bigotry and unprofessionalism among large numbers of medical staff. © Copyright (c) Daily Maverick , All Rights Reserved More than 200 people marched from Loftus stadium ... Read more »

Coronavirus digest: Scandinavian airlines lift mask mandates

© Provided by dw.com SAS, Norwegian, Wideroe and Flyr will do away with their mask requirements Starting Monday, four Scandinavian airlines are set to drop in-flight mask requirements for regional ... Read more »

Why did more than 90 rattlesnakes move into a California home?

© Provided by Live Science This photo does NOT show the rattlesnakes under the California home. Here, four gravid timber rattlesnakes basking at rookery area near their den. A homeowner ... Read more »

Getting to grips with Long Covid — and the gender biases that skew medical diagnoses

Long Covid is showing up in much higher proportions in women compared to men. That depression and anxiety are high on the list of Long Covid symptoms is particularly problematic ... Read more »

Zweli Mkhize asks court to set aside SIU findings into Digital Vibes matter

© @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter Former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addressed a virtual meeting on 4 August 2020. JOHANNESBURG – Former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize wants the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) findings into ... Read more »

Which Probiotic Is Right for You? These Are the Exact Bacteria Strains to Look For

© Photo: Twenty20 Bacteria strains in probiotics Probiotics are one of the most commonly bought supplements, and it’s easy to see why: The microbiome affects so many aspects of our health—even things ... Read more »

Covid booster jab rollout 'extremely slow' and risks winter lockdown as cases skyrocket

Former Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King criticised the slow booster programme rollout. While speaking on Sky News he admitted it was surprising how slow the rollout had been compared ... Read more »

Covid: New 'Delta Plus' variant under close watch in the UK - Three key symptoms to spot

To date, emerging variants of COVID-19 have withstood all the Government’s efforts to bring the pandemic to a close. The Delta strain, which doubles the risk of hospitalisation among the ... Read more »

Cute clip shows busker singing John Legend having a chance encounter with the man himself

© Getty Images for Gucci John Legend A local busker got the chance to meet John Legend after he was unknowingly in the audience as she sang one of his ... Read more »

Why Ulta and Atea Rained on the Nasdaq's Parade Tuesday

The Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) has been one of the most resilient stock market indexes for investors over the past 18 months. After taking a hit with the rest of ... Read more »

Opinion: Colin Powell showed that even the bravest are vulnerable

In 2003, when Colin Powell announced he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, I remember being struck by the news. As a cancer patient myself — I was diagnosed with ... Read more »

‘I'm an Registered Dietitian, and This Is Why Chocolate Can Boost Your Longevity'

Chocolate is delicious, says anyone who isn’t a sociopath. (Just kidding, I do know a few sane people who don’t care for it—but I’m not totally sure I trust them!) ... Read more »

Katie Couric recalls daughters reading about their late father in her new book: ‘They called me in tears'

One of Katie Couric’s biggest regrets is that her two daughters didn’t really get a chance to know their father because they were so young when he died at 42 ... Read more »

Carolyn Petschler Isn't Letting a Cancer Scare Stop Her From Running the NYC Marathon

After a recent breast cancer scare, the Navy vet and marathoner is running not just for herself, but also for cancer patients, cancer survivors and veterans. View the original article ... Read more »

Dr. Rachel Levine becomes nation's first transgender four-star officer

Levine was appointed to lead the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, making her the nation's first openly transgender four-star officer. Read more »

James Martin tells us about his new book, Butter, nearly buying a Scottish island and reinvigorating Spudulike

Just don’t ask him if he likes margarine © James Martin Celebrity chef, James Martin, 49, is a big fan of Scotland In fact, while he was shooting ITV’s Islands ... Read more »

Jaffy's Mallaig Kippers, described by the judges as 'a breakfast of dreams' wins Great Taste Supreme Champion 2021

They also won the Great Taste Golden Fork from Scotland © Jaffy’s Mallaig Kippers “With some good bread and butter this really would be a breakfast of dreams,” said one ... Read more »