A Winning Idea

How one teen's invention is making a difference in the lives of African amputees.
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Grayson Rosenberger, 15, often asked God where he fit into his parents' work with prosthetic patients in Africa. His mother lost both legs as a result of a car accident. To provide hope to others with this same setback and share Christ, Grayson's parents founded a non-profit organization called Standing with Hope (standingwithhope.com).

But how could Grayson fit in?

After one of their trips to Africa, Grayson's parents told him about Daniel, a boy his age. "He broke his leg playing soccer and had to have it amputated," Grayson said. "Standing with Hope could only afford to give him a basic metal-rod prosthetic leg. The kids always teased him and he wanted a cosmetic covering. But they're so expensive that even some Americans can't afford them."

Hearing of Daniel's experience, Grayson wanted to somehow invent a low-cost cosmetic covering for prosthetics. So, when Grayson heard about Sealed Air Corporation's Bubble Wrap Invention Competition, he came up with a crazy idea. He wrapped a prosthetic rod with bubble wrap and then used heat to mold it into the shape of a leg.

With a colored stocking pulled over the Bubble wrap, the leg is very realistic looking. And it only cost $15 instead of the $1,000 or more a cosmetic leg covering would normally cost.

Grayson won the contest's $10,000 prize.

Joy from Sadness: Last June, Grayson and his parents traveled to Ghana, Africa, to fit amputees with new legs. He was excited to meet Daniel and give him the invention he helped inspire. But when the Rosenbergers arrived at the Ghana clinic, doctors told them Daniel had died from malaria just a few weeks earlier. "My heart sank," Grayson said. "But I knew God had called me there for a reason."

Grayson refit Daniel's leg for another boy. "Someone will walk because of Daniel," Grayson said. "As I put the boy's leg together, I envisioned Daniel."

For 10 days, Grayson, his parents, and other staff worked 10 to 13 hours a day. The Rosenbergers fit 25 people with brand new legs. They also trained clinic workers to build Grayson's invention. "We had some long days," Grayson said. "But I had the best job on the production line. I got to put the end piece on the leg and watch people walk on two legs."

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