April is Limb Loss Awareness month and if you have never spoken to your kids about limb loss, this is a great time to broach the subject. Some people lose limbs through illness or accident, but an increasing number of children are being born with limbs that are different. During the month of April we wish to draw awareness to this special group of people who are determined, resilient and born just right!
The Amputee Coalition
The Amputee Coalition estimates that there are about 21 amputations occurring every hour in the US which accounts for more than 500 a day and approximately 185, 000 annually. Diabetes is the leading cause of amputations followed by injury and cancer.
This is of growing concern because it is estimated that one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050 which will, in turn, vastly increase the number of amputations.
Not only do families have to deal with the trauma of amputations, but it was estimated that the cost of amputations in 2009 totalled more than $8.3 billion. The families are further burdened by the cost of prosthetic limbs and alterations to the home to help amputees stay mobile.
“Amputees are part of our communities,” said Kendra Calhoun, president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition. “It’s important for our communities to know that amputees are not defined by their amputation and that they are living life to the fullest. That’s why we encourage the 2 million Americans living with limb loss to participate in Show Your Mettle Day on April 27.”
From Peggy Chenoweth, National Spokesperson for the Amputee Coalition: “People often feel uncomfortable or shy when broaching the subject of limb loss. I am excited about this unifying event which will foster opportunities to educate others about amputees living within the community.” The Amputee Coalition is raising funds to help members afford prosthetic limbs and they are raising awareness through a number of Run/Walk/Roll events. You can visit their website to see events in your area.
What your kids should know
It’s important for your children to understand why people lose their limbs and how prosthetics work. You should also discuss and role-play situations so that they know how to react to people who have lost limbs. You can show them positive role models who have lost limbs and continue to excel like wheelchair basketball players and Paralympic athletes.
From Representative Rob Matzie: “The general public is largely unaware of the challenges faced by the amputee community. While the visible effects may be easy to see, the emotional difficulties and financial stress can be equally as challenging. This awareness month is meant to draw attention to those challenges, but it is also meant to recognize the strength and fortitude of the amputee community.”
Join communities across the world during Limb Loss Month to talk about this issue with your children, to recognize the difficulties faced by amputees and their families and to donate money or participate in events near you.
The Born Just Right Foundation offers help and support to parents of children. You can find their website here: http://www.bornjustright.com/about/