Community in Utah raising funds for prosthetic hands for Ugandan man

Posted at 7:56 PM, Dec 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-24 21:56:31-05

MAPLETON, Utah -- The city of Mapleton is in the process of raising $30,000 for a man from Uganda they have yet to meet.

The funds are for a man named Cosmas, who lost both of his hands earlier this year as the result of an accident.

Mapleton is a smaller city, with less than 9,000 people, but collectively they have a big heart. When they learned about Cosmas' situation, the community immediately wanted to help raise enough money to buy him new prosthetic hands, which he is set to receive next month, right here in Utah.

Cosmas’ hands were severely mutilated in January after an accident involving a grinding machine he uses for work. Despite struggling with simple tasks like eating and getting dressed, Cosmas remains positive. Missionaries from Mapleton, who were visiting Cosmas' village of Gulu, shot some video in November and shared his story with family and friends back home.

"I don't mind about my accident, cause others are suffering more than me,” Cosmas said.

"It’s so incredible the attitude that he has about it,” said Ryan Moss of Mapleton. “He still feels so blessed and recognizes that other people have less than him."

Moss said he felt compelled to do something for Cosmas: "I told my wife, I said, ‘Hey I think we have to help this kid, because it's not leaving me alone."

Moss reached out to friends in the medical field who specialize in prosthetics. They said Cosmas was eligible for two different sets of prosthetic hands, but they would cost about $26,000, plus another $4,000 just to fly him to Utah.

That's where Connor Lunt and dozens of other members of the Mapleton community stepped in. Handing out flyers and selling beanies, their efforts are all part of the fundraising campaign “Hands for Opedmoth Cosmas.”

"Knowing that people around here are so willing to help each other and help somebody that we don't even know, halfway across the world, it's so awesome to see all that come together the way it has been,” Lunt said.

In six weeks, the community raised more than $24,000. Click here to visit the campaign's You Caring campaign.  Fellow fundraiser Ann Earl said helping Cosmas receive new hands is the best Christmas present she has ever given.

"When he first heard about us helping him, he saw a picture of one of our meetings, and he wept,” Earl said. “He was so overcome by the generosity of these people.”

Cosmas is scheduled to arrive in Utah in late February, and he will be here for two weeks as he learns how to use his new prosthetic hands. During that time he’ll be staying with families in Mapleton.