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Amputees From Quake One Year Ago Grateful to First Coast

6:49 PM, Jan 12, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Today is a sad anniversary but there is good news, thanks to generous heroes on the First Coast.

Some are students in Clay County who gave up their Christmas party to donate money. Another is the Martin family in Starke who used money set aside for a new car to give.

Others are anonymous donors who believe every person deserves to walk no matter where he or she happened to be born.

As of today, the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, enough money has been given to make 99 new prosthetic legs for quake amputees.

Following a special report on a prosthetics lab in Milot, about 70 miles north of Port-au-Prince, donations have been coming in to help.

Holy Family Catholic school in Baymeadows led the way.  Now other schools, especially in Clay County, are taking an interest including Swimming Pen Creek Elementary, Rideout Elementary, Fleming Island and Doctors Inlet.

Doctors and volunteers from the First Coast built the permanent lab. 

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. John Lovejoy and prosthetics expert Mike Richard, both from Jacksonville, can now build custom prosthetic legs for $300 each, while in the U.S. the cost runs into the thousands.

The lab is drawing praise from medical experts around the country. Physical therapists from Jacksonville and other countries volunteer at the lab to help amputees learn to walk on their new legs.

To make a donation, email Jeannie Blaylock at

MORE: Watch our TV special, "The First Coast Stands Up For Haiti." It is about 45 minutes long and it's online in seven segments.

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