Update: Limbitless Solutions raised more than $6,000 Saturday. About 200 people attended the event. Kris Doan, foodie writer for Tasty Chomps was the winner of the rib-eating contest.
Limbitless Solutions, the team of volunteer UCF students who build 3-D printed bionic arms for children with missing limbs will hold a community event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, to launch its new global initiative: 75 arms and books for children in Syria.
Limbitless, with the help of community partner Romacorp Inc., the parent company of Tony Roma’s and TR Fire Grill restaurants, is holding the event on the plaza in front of CFE Arena at UCF to raise money so the team can design, build and deliver the arms and books to children hurt and displaced by the conflict in Syria.
The team is working with the nonprofit Help Syria to change the lives of some of the children impacted by the violence. According to several humanitarian organizations, at least 1.2 million children have fled Syria, and 1 in 3 cannot attend school regularly because they are virtually homeless in neighboring countries.
“We saw that we could make an immediate impact,” said Dominique Courbin, director of production for Limbitless. “But we didn’t want to help just some children without arms. We wanted to help as many as we could recapture some portion of their childhood. Books transport you to a different world, so that’s why we want to deliver books as well.”
All proceeds from Saturday’s community event will help meet the goal of raising $40,000 build the arms and deliver them in 2016. The team, which is now a nonprofit, is also launching an Indiegogo online crowdfunding campaign to raise money. Every donation counts, said Limbitless founder and executive director Albert Manero.
“Your support will benefit children in Syria and beyond,” Manero said. “We are already changing lives here, but we need to do more. Together we are going to change the world.”
To see a video about the campaign, click here.
Adults and children of all ages are invited to enjoy the event’s activities, which include a kid’s Inflatable Zone, music and a celebrity rib-eating contest. Among the scheduled participants: Kris Doan, foodie writer for Tasty Chomps!; AJ from the AJ and Ashley Morning show on K92.3 Orlando’s Country, and news personalities Matt Austin and Lisa Bell from Local 6, WKMG among others.
The Orlando Science Center and others will have information booths set up at the event, as well, including a station where children and adults can learn more about the UCF students’ current and future work.
Special guests include Alex Pring, the first recipient of a Limbitless bionic arm who had an opportunity to meet actor Robert Downey Jr., when Downey helped deliver an updated Iron Man-themed arm to the 7-year-old. Wyatt Falardeau, another recipient whose “blue” arm was delivered by Orlando’s Blue Man Group, will also be greeting guests.
The team of students, who make the arms in their spare time in a lab at UCF, have delivered eight limbs since July 2014 and have a waiting list of more than 200 children from around the world. The first arm cost $350 in materials to produce and all arms are given to children for free. The team made its first international delivery to a 6-year-old boy from Brazil who flew into Orlando courtesy of multiple community partners.
Stop by, enjoy the festivities and donate. Plan on having lunch during the event at Burger U on campus, and part of your bill will be donated to the team. If you can’t make it Saturday, then go online to make a donation and help change the world.
“Tony Roma’s is a place for families to enjoy quality time with their children, and it is very important to us to put a smile on kids’ faces, which is why we’re supporting Limbitless Solutions,” said Brad Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Romacorp Inc. “We hope many families will come to the community event and enjoy a day of fun activities while also supporting this amazing charity.”