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Mongolian girl travels to Kinston to get new prosthetic foot

August 30, 2012

Tuvshindeger Turkhuu, 6, can’t speak a lick of English, but she didn’t need to Friday because her constant smiling let everyone know exactly how she felt. She had a full day ahead of her, including getting her nails painted, getting her hair done and most importantly getting a new prosthetic foot.

Tuvshindeger traveled across the world from Mongolia earlier this week with her entourage in tow — her father Turkhuu Yadmaa and two of his co-workers — to receive in Kinston a state-of-the-art artificial foot, compliments of EastPoint Prosthetics and Orthotics Inc.

“She’s really excited because two months ago we just heard about it,” Yadmaa said. “(EastPoint) just offered to help us. So then we just informed her, and she’s just been counting the days to go to the United States.”

Tuvshindeger was born with nothing below her left ankle and recently has had to use a leather boot, made by South Korean doctors who visited Mongolia on a humanitarian trip. Her new prosthesis was specially made for her and is designed to last a while.

“The last prosthesis she had lasted her eight months, so we’re trying to make this prosthesis as adjustable for her as possible, meaning we’re making it larger so that she can remove socks as she grows into the prosthesis,” EastPoint President Paul Sugg said. “We’re making it adjustable in height for her, plus giving her a second foot, as well.”

Sugg said he heard about the girl’s situation through a Christian charitable organization he had worked with, making artificial limbs during mission trips to Central America.

“These folks are Christians, so they were able to tie it in through the organization and had done some work for the organization, and that’s how we got connected together.”

Yadmaa was planning to travel to Oklahoma State University to teach, as part of an agricultural exchange program, and made the trip to North Carolina — with the help of several companies and organizations — to accommodate his daughter’s needs. The group will head toward Oklahoma Tuesday.

After visiting EastPoint, Tuvshindeger’s crew, along with EastPoint President Paul Sugg, made the short trip next door to The Beauty Box for a free day of pampering.

She was taken to the pedicure room where bottles of nail polish lined the walls, and she quickly picked out her favorite color — bright pink.

Cosmetologist Jena Bish gave Tuvshindeger a pedicure, noting this was the first time she had ever painted a prosthetic foot.

“I really feel honored that they asked me to paint her nails,” Bish said. “I feel really special. I’m really excited about it.”

Tuvshindeger’s day of beauty wasn’t done yet. She was presented with a “Cosmo Kit” by Beauty Box owner Tonya Adams and had her hair done by Laris Elkasevic.

Sugg said he has had a blast with Tuvshindeger and her traveling party the short time they have been here, and he looks forward to helping others in similar situations.

“It’s the most exciting thing in the world,” Sugg said of helping someone in need. “People from third world countries appreciate what you do beyond measure. … People say what a blessing you’re giving her, but what a blessing she’s giving us.”

-written by: Jane Moon 252-559-1082 or
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