Villager makes prosthetics accessible to all

By ZHOU HUIYING/HAN JUNHONG | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-01 09:38
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Sun poses with five generations of steel prosthetic arms he had made over the years at his home. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

In the beginning of 1985, he started to develop better prosthetic arms using iron, plastic and rubber after researching and studying at several factories that produced prosthetics around the province. "It is thanks to my family members who gave me great support," he said. "Without their help, I wouldn't be able to finish this complicated work."

After developing it for more than 30 years, Sun's steel prosthetic arms are now in their fifth generation and are made to look as if he still had both his arms.

Controlled through movements of his shoulders and upper arms, the device enabled Sun to grip, hold and mimic some easy hand movements.

The story of Sun's independence as a disabled man began to spread widely through different media outlets in 2005, and he was invited to be an instructor at a small factory in Changchun, capital of Jilin.

Meanwhile, a number of disabled people all around China contacted him through various ways, hoping to have the same "iron hand" as he had.

"Most of them didn't have high incomes, and had to face lots of difficulties in life," he said.

"The price of prosthetic arms sold in the market seemed to be a huge burden for them."

To help more people in need, Sun quit his job as an instructor and started a workshop in his village to manufacture prosthetic arms in 2007.

Sun's prosthetic arm weighs around 0.75 kilograms and costs 4,000 to 6,000 yuan ($580 to $870)-around one-fourth of the average price in the market.

Li Zhimin, a farmer from Henan province, lost his right forearm when he was operating a machine in 2013.

When he saw Sun's story on a television report in 2014, Li contacted him and finally got a suitable prosthetic arm with Sun's help.

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