I commend you for including the “Lending a Hand” story in the June 29 issue of the Opelika Observer, and Morgan Bryce for a carefully researched and well-written article.
Excellent marks are merited by the special people the story celebrates – the 10-year-old who has overcome a serious handicap and the bullying and ridiculing which are far too often shown to such a person, his mother who persevered to secure the help needed for her son, and the national organization which specializes in aiding the handicapped.
Ethan Falco High at a very young age has learned to cope with, and apparently master, his problem of missing fingers due to Amniotic Bond Syndrome in his mother’s womb. Inspired by his parents, Ethan rejected self-pity and developed a wellness spirit. Instead of withdrawing over ridicule, he has found compassion for others with similar struggles.
Computer-searches to the rescue. Ethan’s mother, Melina Brown, discovered “all sorts of support groups,” in particular a company headed by Jon Schull called eNABLE that depends on volunteers “all over the globe” who “conceptualize” and, yes, “finance, construct and distribute artificial arms or hands” to persons with that need.
Brown became a volunteer for eNABLE’s legal foundation. Brown and her administrative assistant Sarah McKenzie operate the Opelika branch of the Foundation, which overall now has some 9,000 volunteers. Self-giving evidently runs in the family: At age eight (not a misprint according to the story) Ethan, following his mother’s example, began to help by demonstrating the uses, viability and endurance of certain prosthetics.
Young High, traveling abroad, is something of a world citizen and ambassador of goodwill in promoting these devices. In Dubai he combined fun—taking pictures from the top of the Burj Khalifa—with demonstrating devices on a television show.
When so many are drawn to “getting ahead,” or making a fortune, what a refreshing wind of the Spirit to learn of one who before becoming a teen-ager, “is making an impact for good on the lives of children” in many places, as his mother says, adding “I believe his purpose in life is to make people’s lives better.”
Let us give thanks for this family of Good Samaritans—and let us go and do likewise.
James A. Langley
Dr. Langley is a retired minister who grew up in Opelika and still maintains his love for our city.