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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Arms and Legs for All!

Did you watch Secret Millionaire last night? I was nearly giddy with excitement when I learned that one of my favorite charitable organizations, Limbs for Life, was being featured. By providing a prosthesis to those who cannot afford one, this charity changes lives  not only for the amputee but also for their community of friends and family.

So many erroneously believe that Medicare will cover the cost of a prosthesis when the amputee is financially drained. In reality, many insurance plans (Medicare included) cap their costs at 80%. The individual is responsible for coming up with the remaining 20%.

Considering that a low-tech above knee prosthesis can run in excess of $15,000, the amputee must pay $3,500 just for the "luxury" of being able to walk. Assuming that the individual was able to secure the payment, the cycle will need to be repeated in 3-5 years, which is the average life of a prosthesis. Raising at least $3,500 every five years is a financial burden that many are simply not able to assume. Many amputees are bankrupt after the costs of the surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and missed work relegating obtaining a prosthesis to nothing more than a dream.

I become frustrated and depressed when I think about all of my amputee peers who are living in a wheelchair or using crutches simply because they don't have enough money in their bank accounts to pay for the leg that they so desperately need. My friends who have struggled to pay their 20% are often relying upon the same device long after it has become antiquated and dangerous. I have seen too many legs fixed with duct tape and super glue because the wearer can't afford the necessary repairs.  Some things simply should not be dependent upon wealth--the ability to walk or use both arms being one of them!

I am lucky that my amputation falls under the Workman's Comp umbrella. Although I have to fight for liners and devices, I have yet to be  denied a leg outright. The quagmire of paperwork and court appearances that I manage is simple compared to those who struggle to raise the sometimes unattainable 20% for the most basic prosthesis.

The volunteers at Limbs for Life work tirelessly to bridge the financial gap for amputees in this country. People from all over the United States have received a prosthesis at no cost due to the efforts of this group. These individuals have been able to ditch the crutches and wheelchairs, many times enabling them to return to work and get off  SSI Disability.  Despite their outreach, too many amputees are not ambulatory because they can't afford it. Something must be done to secure prosthetic devices for every amputee who wants one.

I've identified the problem. If I could only come up with a solution!

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