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29Jul 21
Lend a Hand to Form5’s Committees

Form5 Prosthetics JULY 29, 2021

Greetings! As summer unfolds and life inches back to normal, we at Form5 have been busier than ever. We’re excited to announce that a new philanthropic opportunity is in the works. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Form5 relies on the help of volunteers and sponsors to provide free and innovative prosthetics to those with limb differences. Form5’s targeted fundraising efforts give donors the opportunity to directly support its specialized committees and the events and projects they undertake. This new campaign design allows donors to play an active role in Form5’s mission by becoming closer to the puzzle pieces that make up our organization.

To kick off these new campaigns, we’d like to introduce and highlight each of our committees. Our organization is composed of the Innovation and Technology Committee (I&T), the CO-FAB Committee, the Development Committee, and the Nub Club Committee. The work they do is very different, but they all come together to help us equip individuals with limb differences with the confidence, resources, and support to accomplish their goals.

The Innovation and Technology Committee, or I&T, leads the research and development of prosthetics for Form5. It also works to expand Form5’s product line. The committee is chaired by Lindsey Austin and is composed of volunteer engineering, design, and medical professionals. This summer, Form5 hired two interns that worked with this committee. I&T works with about ten recipients each year to design, develop, and test our prosthetics. In 2021, our committee has already developed prosthetics for six recipients! Form5’s volunteers and interns are developing a custom shoe for a recipient with a few medical conditions that cause his feet to swell and contract. They are also designing prosthetics for rock-climbing, and they are innovating an exoskeleton design for a recipient with CMT, a degenerative nerve disorder. Earlier this spring, The I&T Committee ventured into animal prosthetics by creating an Adaptive Gait Device (pictured below) for a raccoon that was injured, ultimately becoming paralyzed in its hind legs. 

According to Lindsey, this project encapsulates the spirit of Form5 because “we’re constantly challenging ourselves, and we don’t turn anyone down. We have the drive to tackle any problem”. I&T further expanded its work by pivoting to PPE production during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Form5 Face Shield’ was designed in under a week by I&T and the reusable face shield design was later patented. Form5’s ambitious goal was the production of 10,000 face shields, with over 6,000 manufactured and donated to date to a wide range of beneficiaries.

CEO Aaron Westbrook and a member of the Columbus Police Department with the Form5 Face Shields

Lastly, the I&T Committee develops the recycled plastic that Form5 uses for our prosthetics. Using this material benefits the environment and cuts our manufacturing costs. I&T works to convert the plastic waste into usable 3-D Printer filament. 

Our CO-FAB Committee is largely centered around our CO-FAB (Collaboration and Fabrication) Workshop. During this event, members of the limb-different community work alongside industry professionals and students to turn their goals into prosthetics. Recipients have the opportunity to play an active role in their prosthesis creation in an inclusive environment where the imagination sparks innovation. Compared to the I&T Committee, CO-FAB is more individualized and involves ‘co-fab-ing’ devices from scratch! On the other hand (pun intended), I&T works to develop pre-fabricated devices and expand the product line. 

Some of CO-FAB’s past innovations include a prosthetic for bicycling, playing the cello (both pictured below), and a shoe design for a recipient who wanted to play competitive basketball.

The committee is led by Form5 Board Member, Jim Brosnahan, who has played a crucial role in strengthening the educational/curriculum-based component of CO-FAB. According to Jim, the workshop is special because “it’s meaningful not only for the recipients and their families, but for the students and professionals.” CO-FAB is truly the heart of collaboration at Form5, and it’s an experience that everybody learns and benefits from.

Our Development Committee encompasses the behind-the-scenes operations of Form5. While I&T and CO-FAB lead the engineering/design innovation, the Development Committee guides our business innovation. The committee manages Form5’s marketing, communications, fundraising, and stewardship. This committee is led by Form5 Board Member, Jennifer Horvath, whose daughter was Form5’s first recipient. The Development Team focuses Form5’s resources, coordinates corporate sponsorships, and spreads the word about our goals and our work. For example, the committee coordinated their efforts online to inform the public about our CO-FAB workshop and limb-difference awareness month. The group also comes up with fun and thoughtful ways to engage donors. The Development Committee recently launched $5 Form5 Fridays, a digital fundraiser for the first Friday of each month. This is just one example of the creative, targeted fundraising efforts this committee has planned!

The campaign’s first Friday was wildly successful—we surpassed our goal by almost $400!

In the past, this committee also organized our farmer’s market plastic drive (pictured below), our wine tasting fundraiser, and our Game for Good event. 

Without these events, we wouldn’t have the resources to provide our recipients with the support they need to accomplish their goals.

Last, but certainly not least, is The Nub Club Committee. The Nub Club of Central Ohio was created in 2010 and provides an opportunity for people with limb differences to connect, talk about resources, and raise awareness. The club was originally founded by Jennifer Horvath and its committee is currently chaired by Aaron Westbrook. Westbrook cites the Nub Club as a source of inspiration for creating Form5, and he’s excited to see the club and committee’s growth as he passes his position to social worker and coach Sean Cai. The Nub Club’s ultimate goal is to provide a sense of community for people with limb differences and ensure their success. This committee serves as the cornerstone for Form5’s committees and an entry-point for limb-different individuals. The group meets seasonally at various locations across Columbus, like local parks and the zoo. 

Two of our Nub Club members in action during our first meeting since 2019.

We are so thankful for the work that our wonderful committees do, and we hope that you will consider making a gift to support the important work of Form5 Prosthetics. To make a contribution to one of Form5’s committees, go to our donation page and make your selection under “Select a Campaign.” Thank you for your help! 

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