About Us

How It All Began?

In 2006, Brent Wright, Certified Prosthetist and Board Certified Orthotist, was invited by Tim and Doris Spurrier, founders of Hospital Shalom in San Benito, Guatemala, to launch the hospital’s prosthetic program with a free prosthetic clinic. The first clinic began in a cinderblock room, with no electricity, and a handful of used, donated limbs and components. It didn’t take long for Brent to realize this method was not ideal or sustainable. As he returned to the States, he quickly began to research other alternatives. Through some trial and error, Brent, along with Frank Hodges (owner of SunStone Lab, central fabrication facility) designed an improved prosthetic system, making it affordable to provide a brand new, customized limb to each patient.

Over the years, various friends and co-workers came alongside to help with the clinics, as well as family members such as Brent’s wife Meredith and Frank’s wife Danielle. By 2014 it was clear that the growth of the Guatemala clinic along with some new ideas for improving overall prosthetics in the developing world would mean it was time to officially organize our own nonprofit. So in 2015, 9 years after beginning our work in Guatemala, LifeNabled officially came to be.

Since our official launch, we have taken great strides towards the future. We continue serving in Guatemala through bi-annual clinics while also rapidly creating new prosthetic solutions involving 3D printing, adjustable socket designs, stability knee development, and online plus in-person training options for other practitioners and organizations.

Tell me more about the prosthesis.

Several key factors come into play when selecting an appropriate prosthetic system in the developing world. Most of our patients live physically demanding lives in an environment that is rugged, hot, humid, and dirty. Things such as a gel liner just don’t work well in the developing world. An appropriate prosthesis needs to be simple, without a lot of moving parts that can easily break or get corroded and an appropriate prosthesis must also be extremely durable, especially the feet!

The current prosthetic system LifEnabled uses begins with a fiberglass cast that is used to create a plaster mold. This mold is used to make custom modifications per the patients specific shape and size. After modification of the mold, a heated, co-polymer plastic is wrapped around it to create the patients lightweight socket. Last, a durable, aluminum pylon is attached, along with an axis bearing self locking knee joint (if needed) and a Niagra foot. This combination is versatile enough to work for all patients, above-the-knee, below-the-knee, adults and pediatrics and has proven to withstand the demands of life in the developing world.

We are beginning to incorporate 3D printing into our prosthetic process through the use of our App DigiScan 3D, while also developing an adjustable socket specifically designed for simplicity in the developing world. Plus we are working on a prototype for a new knee that will provide increased stability for patients. Our end goal is to generate a full prosthetic system that is durable, cost-effective and third-world compatible.

How much does a prosthesis cost?

One of the key factors we realized from the beginning is that affordability is crucial. Many patients in Guatemala and other parts of the developing world live on just a few dollars a day. Affording a prosthesis is simply unattainable. We provide our prostheses at no cost to the patients, which means we rely heavily on our generous partners and donors. In order to reach as many patients as possible, we designed a system that includes appropriate technology for the developing world at a price that allows our services to remain sustainable. In the U.S. a prosthesis can cost anywhere from $5k to $100k, but for our current system we are able to provide a below-the-knee prosthesis for only $150 and an above-the-knee prosthesis for only $300. Plus, as we begin to incorporate 3D printing, adjustable sockets, and our own knee design we will be able to bring the costs down even more!

What if patients need an adjustment or repair?

Both in the U.S. and overseas all prosthetic patients need adjustments and/or repairs at some point. Accidents happen and residual limbs shrink and expand for various reasons; it’s an expected part of being an amputee. Thankfully, our prosthetic system lends itself to fewer repairs than others. For our Guatemala patients, since our lab is at Hospital Shalom, there are a handful of missionaries who live and work permanently at that location and have had some technical training with us during previous clinics. We leave extra parts and components at the lab for any emergency repairs that cannot wait until our next clinic. Otherwise, patients sign up for follow-up care as needed during upcoming clinics. Moving forward, our goal is to build partnerships with other organizations around the world to enable them to provide on-going prosthetic care for the regions they serve.

Do you offer prosthetic training?

Within the next 1-2 years, our goal is to offer CE accredited prosthetic based 3D printing courses. We are also working towards developing a training module to enable other organizations to gain the skills and knowledge needed to provide prosthetics in the regions where they serve. In the end, our goal is to be able to offer the necessary training combined with the ideal components (3D, co-polymer and/or adjustable sockets, stability knee, Niagara feet etc.) in order to equip others to make affordable prosthetic care available to all amputees around the world.

We are also currently improving technology with the DigiScan App to equip other practitioners in the field.

Lastly, we always have a need for some helping hands during each clinic in Guatemala. If you are interested in seeing what we do first hand and coming along to help we can train you on whatever skills you need as we go. Please contact us if you are interested. We would love to have you join us.

Why do you say #HopeBegins with a Prosthesis?

Try to imagine some of these very real scenarios:

  • You live on $2-$3 dollars a day, affording a prosthesis is simply unimaginable. You are simply trying to survive.
  • You live in a remote village and there is zero access to medial care, much less prosthetic care
  • You have a family who needs to eat but without mobility you are unable to work and provide
  • Your parents work in the fields all day but you are home alone with no hope for a future because you are unable to attend school
  • You have a loved one who is an amputee that you are desperately trying to care for, but meeting their daily needs, plus your own, plus the rest of your family, you are exhausted, desperate and in need of relief.
  • You used to have mobility but after a terrible tragedy, now you are coping with feelings of overwhelming hopelessness, feelings of being incomplete or worthless
  • You were born without a limb and your village feels you have been cursed. You live in daily fear of abuse because of a birth defect you cannot control.
  • ….the list goes on

For all of these scenarios and more, the opportunity to begin a new chapter of hope truly begins with a prosthesis. Once a patient is able to gain mobility, their self-worth increases and they now have the ability work, to provide for their families, to attend school and more. The load placed on their caretakers is lessened and their entire outlook on life changes — for the better! So many patients have told us through their tears of joy, “I never thought I would have the chance to walk again.” Providing a patient with a prosthesis is the first step towards hope and it allows us the ultimate opportunity to then share the true source of eternal hope offered through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We confidently believe #HopeBegins with a prosthesis.

Meet Our Team

Meredith Wright

Executive Director/Board President

Meredith graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Applied Communication (double concentration in Public Communication and Interpersonal/Organizational Communication). She obtained her NC Real Estate license in 2004 and worked full time in Real Estate and Property Management from 2004 - 2007 in Charlotte and Asheville, NC. Upon moving...

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Meredith Wright

W. Brent Wright

Board Vice President/Treasurer CP BOC/O

Brent is an ABC Certified Prosthetist and Board Certified Orthotist. He began in the field of prosthetics in 1996 as an intern in fabrication techniques. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in HealthCare Management and completed his education for prosthetics at California State University. Brent fulfilled his...

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Brent Wright

Frank Hodges

Board Secretary BOC/P BOC/O

Frank is a Board Certified Prosthetist and has worked as a Prosthetics and Orthotics technician for 13 years, with the past four years owning his own professional P&O technical company. He graduated with a Liberal Arts degree from Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, WV with focuses in Math, Science, and Theater....

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Frank Hodges

Michelle Keller

Communications Director

Michelle joins our team following her employment as a Recruiter with L&E Marketing Research. She and her husband moved around quite a bit from California to Montreal before happily settling in Raleigh, NC to start a family. She studied Communications/Public Relations at the University of South Carolina. Her previous work...

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Michelle Keller

Robert Christner

Advisory Board Member

Robert is a Software Development Manager for BB&T. He has been developing software for over 11 years, including 8 years at IBM. Robert obtained a Masters degree in Computer Engineering from NC State University in 2004, and also holds Bachelor degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Electrical Engineering and...

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Robert Christner

Trey Watkins

Advisory Board Member

Trey is Vice President of Rose Oil Company, a 75 year old family owned company. The company operates retail gas stations and manages commercial real estate. He graduated from UNC at Chapel Hill with a BS in Business and a Masters in Accounting. He has served on Boards for the...

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Trey Watkins

Mission

Enable. Train. Serve.

Vision

A world where all amputees have access to affordable prosthetic care.

Values

We value compassion, innovation and quality.

Why

Hope and wholeness begin with a prosthesis.

Mission

Enable. Train. Serve.

Vision

A world where all amputees have access to affordable prosthetic care.

Values

We value compassion, innovation and quality.

Why

Hope and wholeness begin with a prosthesis.

Strategy

Enable mobility through hands on clinics and developing a usable system for other organizations in various regions of the developing world.

Train others in 3D printing processes, DigiScan 3D, in the use of our components and in providing their own clinics.

Serve patients and other organizations to broaden the reach of affordable prosthetic care.

Will you partner with us?