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31st October 2017

When MedTech meets Art

Art of life is an evening reception organised by MedTech Europe in partnership with  EU40 in the European Parliament on Wednesday 22 November 2017 from 6.00pm until 8.00pm. This event will be hosted by the honourable Members of the European Parliament, Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy) and Adam Kosa (EPP, Hungary).

The evening will celebrate medtech with dance and music in the company of three artists with an unbreakable spirit. Three artists who have overcome their physical obstacles and pushed their limits with the support of medical technologies, in order to follow their passion for music and dance. These artists prove to themselves and the world that they can overcome anything. You will experience the wonders brought by medical innovation and will obtain a new perspective on art through the performances of Johanna Paetzold, a singer from Germany, who thanks to a cochlear hearing implant can beautifully sing again, Mel Reis, a ballerina from Brazil, who thanks to a prosthetic leg can stunningly dance again and Keith Xander, lead singer and guitarist of Xander & the Peace Pirates from the United Kingdom, who thanks to a prosthetic hand can spectacularly play the guitar. All these artists will be accompanied by the Brussels Philharmonic Soloists.

Catch up on their inspirational stories below for a quick sneak peek to the event.

When Mel Reis lost part of her leg, the Brazilian ballerina saw it as a perfect opportunity to get back ‘en pointe’.

Ever since her left leg was crushed in a road accident as a teenager, Mel had continued to stay active through sheer determination but was forced to hang up her beloved pointe shoes. Despite numerous surgeries over the 13 years that followed, doctors were unable to save the limb and they decided to amputate the lower part in 2014.

Rather than giving up, Mel viewed this development as a fortuitous turn of events. “Amputation of a limb is not a synonym of death, but rather the restoration of a body,” she says in a video about her experience. In an interview with This Is Medtech, she explains that “the idea to create a prosthetic pointe foot was mine after I searched for something similar but couldn’t find anything out there (continue reading).

“Hearing with only one ear is like living in a black and white world without knowing that somewhere else colours exist,” explains Johanna Pätzold.

When the singer became deaf in her right ear as a result of meningitis at the age of 23, it deeply impacted her personal and professional life. “I quickly forgot what hearing with two ears was like. I couldn’t remember how a full sound sounded,” she explains to This Is Medtech.

“Simply finding my ringing cell phone was a nerve-racking experience,” recalls Johanna. “Losing the ability to localise sounds means you lose the ability for spatial orientation in a room. The connection to everything around you is severed even when ‘just’ a single side of hearing is lost” (continue reading).

“It was mostly a beautiful and powerful experience growing up with a prosthetic hand,” says Keith Xander, the lead singer and guitarist of Xander and the Peace Pirates.

“It was a feeling of being different, but others would seem to react positively most of the time, and would often be inspired by my ability to always follow my heart and therefore succeed through the belief in my ability and not my so-called disability,” he tells This Is Medtech.

Nevertheless, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The first time he tried playing the guitar at age 13 was frustrating, as “striking the strings and practicing accuracy was a challenge. The first music teacher I experienced said to forget it and try the trumpet instead,” remembers Keith. Fortunately a new teacher arrived and encouraged him to pick up the guitar again (continue reading).