Per my routine, I woke up Saturday morning and poured myself a large mug of coffee. I settled into my rocker, grabbed my computer and fired up Facebook. Scrolling through the news feed I saw a fundraising effort that was started by my friend Erin. While I'm extremely proud that she is taking this proactive step, I am also saddened that she has been brought to this decision.
Erin is an active Mom, wife and full-time employee. She is also an amputee due to a medical error. Her only mistake was daring to go into labor with her second child over a weekend. Despite losing her leg, Erin has adjusted and resumed her life as a vibrant and active woman.
This past spring I encouraged her to attend the Challenged Athletes running clinic in her hometown. Although she initially squelched the idea because running was perhaps the only thing that she hadn't done since becoming an amputee, she finally decided to give it a try. In a few short hours, my friend's life was transformed.
She began going on daily jogs with her children, relishing in the physical and psychological benefits of returning to an activity which she used to adore. Unfortunately, her prosthetic issues threatened to cause injury, and she had to stop. Despite wonderful prosthetic technology, there is not yet a "one leg fits all activity" prosthesis. Most amputees are fit with a good walking and light activity device. Running or jogging on a consistent basis requires a different prosthesis in order to thwart both injury and component breakdown.
It is an unfortunate reality that in this country an amputee's ability to run has less to do with talent, motivation and athletic prowess and more with their affluence. Most insurance companies consider activity prosthetics to be luxury items and are not covered under the policy. The middle class amputee who works full time, is raising a family and pays taxes often cannot afford the $10,000+ out of pocket price for a specialized prosthesis.
Literature is full of research proving that remaining active and fit will help thwart injury and minimize secondary health issues. Apparently insurance companies deem these findings irrelevant when it comes to the physical fitness of the amputee population. As things stand right now, an amputee who has the desire to run and has proven that dedication, is relegated either to begging for a grant or fundraising through friends on the internet. Individuals who have never asked society for any type of financial assistance are forced to ask for help. For too many, this prospect is simply overwhelming and they settle for a limited lifestyle.
#100happydays Robby winning $1 from our waitress at IHOP, who bet him he couldn't eat his age in pancakes. He proved her wrong!