Shake Things Up! See what it takes for a man to change a village and impact a nation…
Written by Holly Thornton
In a small fishing community of ‘Lau Valley” in the Solomon Islands, Hudson is a generous man in his village, supporting 15 people living under one roof. He is known as the ‘doctor’ due to his mechanical skills that help keep village boats working for other families’ livelihoods.
“Average 30% of the total population depends on fishing for an income.”
All of this was put into jeopardy when he stepped on a piece of glass and his foot would not heal due to the life-threatening complications of diabetes. The only course of action was to amputate his leg. A lengthy hospital stay and no resource for amputees in the Solomon Islands, he became home-bound with no hope of him ever walking again. Losing his spirit, he began a health decline so severe that his son-in-law, a Richmond native, jumped into action bringing him to the States for care.
“Diabetes causing increased leg infections is the most common reason for the increase of leg amputations in the local hospital”
Soon after his arrival in Richmond, Hudson was connected to Mission Gait and their Walking Free Program, where a three-month journey to recovery began. By finding the rehabilitation goals that mattered most to Hudson, the prosthetist tapped into his mechanical knowledge and shared how a prosthetic is built and the physical therapist taught the theory behind the exercises. This knowledge is important due to the lack of resources in the village and will help him overcome basic obstacles that will arise in the future.
“Hudson and physical therapist, David Lawrence, work together on the parallel bars. David is teaching Hudson to trust his prosthetic leg.”
Returning home with renewed hope and purpose, Hudson has been a seed of hope and encouragement visiting his family, friends, and fellow Solomon Islanders who are presently housebound and unable to walk - just as he was only months ago. He goes to their homes and explains how Walking Free can design and make a prosthesis, and how with physical therapy patients can begin to walk and do things once again that they thought were lost forever.
“Hudson gives hope to many people, honestly a whole nation; that they too, can have the same treatment and ability to walk again. “
Life for Hudson now is still a struggle, living in one of the poorest countries in the Pacific. But now Hudson can face the struggle and move about working on his house - putting in a new room, working in the garden and enjoying the time with the many grandchildren and children who live with him. He also walks the dirt streets every morning, getting in his therapy and exercise. He can walk down to the seaside where the boats come in and help with the daily catch.
People often come from far away to his house in Lau Valley asking about the prosthesis and how they too can get one for themselves, or a friend or relative. Hudson is an ambassador of sorts for those who have amputations and desire to walk and move again in the Solomon’s.
In the Solomon Islands there are hundreds, if not thousands, waiting for a prosthetic device year after year (for the last 15 years). Every week on average 2 or 3 amputations take place. Those amputated really have no hope of walking again. Because of immobility, emotional and physical health begins to decline, many times rapidly, as there are no prosthetic capabilities in the country at this present time.
“We believe that Hudson will be the first of many others in the Solomon Islands that will have a prosthesis made, receive therapy. With renewed hope and purpose they can begin to walk and live fully again. Will you join us?”
The story doesn’t end here! Next up on the blog, hear directly from Hudson’s son-in-law, Jeff Allen, his perspective, the miracles that occurred and the work being done, in partnership with Mission Gait’s Walking Free program, to bring help and resources to the Solomon Islands.
Shake Things Up!
In an effort to make true change, Hudson has used this red t-shirt slogan to “rally” the community and the Ministry of Health in the Solomon Islands.