Fitting with Higher Standards...
O.C. surfers, firm give Fiji friend a new leg

Waiske Radu - Wais to his many friends - lost his left leg because of a diabetes-related infection. Surfers who has met Wais at Tavarua Island Resort where he works paid for him to come to the United States and LIMB CRAFT INC. in Fullerton provided a prosthetic leg for free.

Tavarua Island in Fiji is a popular surf spot. And if you went to Tavarua Island Resort, you met Waiske Radu, Wais to his friends who are many and worldwide, says San Clemente resident Greg Hulsizer.

Recently, Wais, 55, had to have his leg amputated because of a diabetes-related infection, so some of his friends started raising money for a prosthetic leg for him.

Hulsizer mentioned the project to his neighbor Alex Lujano, a certified fitter of orthotics (limb braces) who works with Limb Craft in Fullerton. Owner Nathan Lee who is certified in both orthotics and prosthetics (artificial limbs) agreed that the small business would provide Wais' leg for free.

"We never met Wais and I don't surf anymore, but I called Nathan and said 'Why don't we do this?'" Lujano says.

Lee adds, "I like these cases; they give me a breath of fresh air. The (recipients) are so grateful."

The small practice cannot afford to provide free prosthetics and orthotics for everyone and many cases are covered by insurance. Lee has traveled to Morocco to make braces for children and helped the poor with no medical insurance.

"To see the change it makes in people's lives is gratifying," Lee says.

Limb Craft recently set up a website,, as a social network for amputees to post questions, comment, sell or donate old parts and find experts who offer free clinics such as golf for amputees.

Hulsizer says that Weis is one of the top officials on the tiny heart-shaped island. He got a bad cut on his lower left leg that would not heal because of the diabetes so that the leg had to be amputated at the knee.

"He's a super guy," Hulsizer says. "We hope this will be a teaching experience for people on the island because diabetes is a serious problem there."

Huntington Beach resident Jamie Isbell spearheaded the fund raising to bring Wais to Orange County to be fitted with a new left leg.

A Friends of Wais Facebook page was set up to keep people up to date on his progress. And the Tavarua Island Resort Facebook page also has an update:

"After four days with the check socket, Wais went in to make a few adjustments based on his usage. The adjustments were amazing and Wais was immediately more stable, confident and WALKING!" Isbell posted.

Wais, who has worked at the resort more than 20 years, says, "I'm so really appreciative of all the contributions. I have known so many people who have come over to surf. When I was amputated, Jamie related the message to all the guests."

Isbell says of the fundraising effort, "Almost all the contributors have been guests of Tavarua Island Resort. A large percentage of the donations are from Orange County but they're from all over the world, Australia, New England, New Zealand."

The donations ranged from $25 to $500 raising a total of $10,000, enough not only for the trip but visits to Disneyland and a tour of Hollywood.

Wais received his new leg before Thanksgiving, and he will be home in time for Christmas.

"I'm going home on Dec. 15 to my wife and five kids," he says. "They're looking forward to see me back home on the 17th. Walking!"