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FEB. 9, 2019

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

LEGO OPEN MRI: A Filipino’s Dream to Make It A Reality

By Seneca MORALEDA-PUGUAN

Robert F. Kennedy once said, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” This is what a Filipino radiographer in the United Kingdom is trying to accomplish.

Apollo Exconde, who grew up in a family of doctors, was inspired to become a medical practitioner. The field of Radiography and the vast opportunities that came with it was introduced to him by his late mother, Lily Exconde. He has now been working in the UK for nearly five years as a Senior Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Radiographer with Inhealth-Croydon MRI Unit.

MRI is a test, a scanning technique that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to capture detailed images of the human body. It is a very important technology in diagnosing diseases. Important and helpful as it is, not everyone has the courage to go through it.

“Seeing how the kids, claustrophobic and scanxious (scan anxious) patients struggle. If patients don’t succeed getting through the MRI scan, it’s such a devastating sight that makes me sad. Some of my patients even tell me: ‘I cannot do this, this is just impossible, I was not informed!’ -- which always crushes my heart, leaving me disturbed even after work.

“It is from these patients’ comments, I started asking myself, what can I do to help them? If I could create, add, or change something that might help them to allay their worries,” said Exconde.

His compassion for his patients inspired him to create something that would help those afraid to go through conventional MRI.

Exconde thought of a brilliant idea: the Lego Open MRI. Yes, MRI made of Lego.

“InHealth – Croydon MRI unit houses 3 MRI machines and one of which is the open MRI. The site boasts unparalleled high rates of success helping claustrophobic patients get through their scan. “In addition to our holistic approach techniques, my initial aim was to show the Lego open MRI while I am explaining what will happen during the procedure. Positioning and how far the head will go inside is imperative information to the patient.”

What is the long-term benefit of the Lego Open MRI?

According to Exconde, “a patient will usually be referred to open MRI after they’ve refused to go to the conventional type. The presence of Lego open MRI once it becomes a reality and widely available will lessen the anxiety of patients from the point of referral to the day of appointment as it will reassure them that the machine that they will be using will be spacious and have an unobstructed view.

“This will also be used in conjunction with the current holistic technique radiographers use to provide each patient a better and unique experience far from what they have had.”

But how will this excellent concept become a reality? The Lego Open MRI will only be produced once it gets the 10k support and has passed the Lego Review. He has been given one year to get 1k support, then an extended 6 months to reach 5k and 6 months more until reaching the required 10k.

The challenge he is facing right now is how to get this concept across to everyone around the globe. He is trying to reach and ask as many people he can, starting from social media, friends, colleagues’ relatives and family. But he is hopeful that the Lego Open MRI will not just remain a concept but will become a reality.

Here are the steps to give our support to Mr. Apollo Exconde so he can see the fulfillment of his dream of a Lego Open MRI.

1. Google Lego open MRI

2. Click the link & click support

3. Click sign in & click don’t have a Lego account?

4. Type your details. Tick ‘accept terms and conditions’, click next

5. Check your email for code

6. Enter the code, click next & close

8. Tick I hereby accept & agree

9. Refresh email look for “Lego Ideas – Confirm your activation,”open it & click activate your account

10. Lego.com needs YOUR help! Click NO another time or YES

11. Click magnifying glass & type OPEN MRI

12. Click OPEN MRI and click support

He appeals, “By sharing the link, my posts or hashtags then it gets spread sporadically as for every cast of support, gets us closer to helping by building confidence, one Lego brick at a time, and it also raises the awareness of claustrophobia and scan related anxiety. I hope that the world will help me to help those who cannot.”

Let’s cast our support for the Lego Open MRI and invite our friends to do the same. Together with Apollo Exconde, let’s make things better.

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