RMA invests in the future of sport-loving eight-year-old
At a very young age Ubuko Mpotulo had to have his legs amputated following health complications, but this bright little fellow has never let this hold him back.
“A few months ago, Ubuko came to RMA’s attention when his grade one teacher, Janey Stevens of College Street Primary School in East London, sent out a heartfelt plea for sponsorship of prosthetic legs for this young man,” says Nomfundo Mcilongo, General Manager: Sales & Marketing at RMA.
“His teacher informed us that Ubuko runs, jumps, hops, skips and swims with his classmates, refusing to let his physical limitations hold him back from living life to the fullest. He is an inspiration to us all.
“Ubuko has been using basic prosthetic limbs to enable him to be mobile. This high-spirited little boy made the best of his existing prosthesis, but most certainly fitting prosthetic limbs more appropriate to his activity level will enable him to participate in physical activities with his friends.
“Today, it gives us great pleasure to provide Ubuko with a pair of new prosthetic legs, specially built for him by RMA’s prosthetics partner, Marissa Nel & Associates. His new ‘legs’, fitted with Vari-Flex Junior feet, provide an exclusive combination of comfort and dynamics. They are specially made for children who require the additional energy response.
“The prosthetic feet ensure the highest levels of user confidence and security, promoting a natural gait with less fatigue and strain on the lower back. The Total Knee Junior from Össur is a smaller version of the adult model, which offers security, natural motion and walking ease. The Total Knee Junior is extremely versatile and natural for children who have a broad range of very high-level activities: walking, running, sitting, squatting, and kneeling activities,” Mcilongo adds.
The prosthetic legs were presented to Ubuko by none other than South African Paralympic medallist Ernst van Dyk during a special ceremony at the East London Health Resource Centre.
RMA provides medical treatment and compensation for workers injured in the mining and iron, metal and steel industries in accordance with the terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA). The initiative to help Ubuko is in keeping with RMA’s ethos of compassionate care.
“We don’t want anything to stand in Ubuko’s way of being the best he can possibly be. We believe that his positive attitude and determination will take him far in life, and it is our privilege to be able to sponsor his prosthetics from RMA. As a company that is both caring and compassionate, RMA believes in giving hope to people. Anybody can be a winner, no matter what obstacles they have had to overcome – so is the triumph of the human spirit, that anything is possible,” says Mcilongo.
Mcilongo explains that prosthetic limbs require maintenance from time to time, and that certain parts will eventually wear out. “Particularly for a growing boy like Ubuko, the prosthetic legs will need to be adjusted so that they can ‘grow’ with him. As a team, we are committed to ensuring that Ubuko’s prosthetics needs are taken care of well into the future so that he and his family need not worry about incurring the costs associated with the upkeep of his ‘new, high-tech legs’.
“With the encouragement of his family, school, Marissa Nel & Associates, the Eastern Cape Department of Health, Ernst and all of us at RMA, we are in no doubt that Ubuko can accomplish whatever he sets his heart on.
“We hope he will be inspired by Ernst to pursue sport professionally, as he has certainly demonstrated a passion and talent for sport.
“No matter what path Ubuko chooses with his new ‘legs’, we are confident that he will go on to make a significant contribution to this country and will continue to be an inspiration to all who know him,” Mcilongo concluded.