On November 5, students in the Master of Prosthetics & Orthotics (MPO) program through Northwestern’s Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC) constructed more than 50 braces for teddy bears gifted to pediatric patients at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Since the program was established in 2017, every year MPO students have volunteered to make specialized back braces called thoracic lumbar sacral orthosis (TLSO) braces specifically designed to fit teddy bears that are distributed to pediatric patients by Lurie residents.
Each teddy bear, provided by Lurie, was given a TLSO brace made by a MPO student, which was trimmed down to fit the bears perfectly and given straps to look and operate like full-sized braces.
“This program reminds you that we’re training our students to go out and work with pediatric patients that are facing some pretty significant challenges in their life. This is just one way that we’re hopefully helping a little kid put a smile on their face during a really tough time,” said Michael Cavanaugh, MSHI, CPO, instructor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and interim director of the program.
Emily Gandolfi, a second-year MPO student and vice president of the Northwestern University Prosthetic Orthotic Student Society (NUPOSS), coordinated this year’s event with Lurie Children’s.
“Due to COVID-19, students haven’t had as many opportunities to volunteer like in the past years, and this seemed like great way to volunteer while doing what we are all passionate about,” Gandolfi said.