March 22, 2010

Today msnbc.com launched Haiti’s Amputees: Building A Life Worth Living (http://haitiamputees.msnbc.com), a multimedia report following one prosthetic team's efforts to help amputees in Haiti rebuild their bodies and their lives.

When the ground shook in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 12, the magnitude-7 earthquake left behind an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 instant amputees in a land where there's little mercy for disability. The tragedy there highlights a grim global reality: In the United States and around the world, the number of amputees is rising dramatically, driven by war, disease and natural disaster.

In Building A Life Worth Living, a team of msnbc.com journalists explore a unique community forged out of tragedy in the rural heart of Haiti.  At the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti in Deschapelles, a crew from the American prosthetic firm Hanger Orthopedic Group is fitting a stream of earthquake amputees with new limbs.

With real-time stories, slideshows, videos and Twitter dispatches from Haiti over the coming week, msnbc.com will track the experiences of those who have lost limbs and the struggle they have not only to survive but to build a life worth living.

“This is a story about the birth of hope after horrible tragedy, and we’re covering it in the way msnbc.com pioneered, by marrying traditional narrative journalism with real-time storytelling tools,” said Jennifer Sizemore, Editor-in-Chief for msnbc.com.

Building A Life Worth Living will also draw on the real-world experiences of U.S. soldiers, amputee veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who have a special affinity with the earthquake victims in Haiti. Through essays and letters translated for patients at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, they share their stories and journey on the path to understanding what it means to cope with limb loss.

Visit http://haitiamputees.msnbc.com to learn more about how to help Haiti’s amputees.

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