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
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/