Bay Area groups help woman get prosthetic arms

Gehane Guirguis lost both of her arms in a bus accident in her native Egypt.
March 17, 2014 9:43:46 PM PDT
Almost two years ago, Gehane Guirguis lost both of her arms in a bus accident in her native Egypt. Two weeks ago, she was outfitted with two full-arm prosthetics here in the Bay Area. Guirguis' story is one of hope and inspiration that shows what can happen when a determined woman has the help of a good-hearted community.

Occupational therapists say Guirguis, 37, is making remarkable progress.

"I have many hopes," Guirguis told ABC7 News through a translator. "One of them is to comb my daughter's hair, but I know things will take time, and it will take very hard work for me to get to my goals, and I'm ready to do it."

Members of the Bay Area Coptic Orthodox Church arranged for her to receive care. Two companies, Norell in Mountain View and Hosmer in Campbell, arranged for the prosthetics. Stanford and Valley Medical Center also helped, along with the Palo Alto Subacute & Rehabilitation Center.

"Everything was just like a huge puzzle, and miraculously, all the pieces fit together," benefactor Sameh Michaiel said.

As challenging as therapy is, Guirguis embodies the spirit of hope and determination. Her therapist has to rein her in.

"You need to wear your prosthetics for just two hours for a little while, then take them off another two hours," Natalie De Leon explained. "She wants to keep going, wear them all day. So I had to rein her back a little bit."

Her progress brings joy to her husband and 5-year-old daughter, Carole. The couple's 2-year-old daughter was killed in the bus accident.

Religion is a central part of Guirguis' life. And she believes she has a new life ahead.

"After the accident, we have a new life, and He intended for us to do something for Him," she said. "I don't know what it is going to be, but I know after I finish the therapy, I will be able to do what God wants me to do."

The Guirguis family will be leaving the Bay Area with a tremendous gift because the prosthetics, the therapy and the medical care were all provided at little to no cost.


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