Bjoern Eser - The creator of The Active Amputee
Bjoern Eser - The creator of The Active Amputee

Welcome to

The Active Amputee

I am Bjoern Eser, the creator of The Active Amputee. I am a father of three amazing children, a husband to an equally amazing wife, a thankful cancer survivor, an outdoor enthusiast, a passionate development practitioner and a very active above-the-knee amputee.

 

I have set up The Active Amputee as a resource page from amputees for amputees. It aims to inform, it aims to inspire and it aims to engage. Nothing more and nothing less. It‘s as simple as that.

 

At the moment The Active Amputee publishes a new post once a week. 

 

Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don‘t miss any new articles, get additional information beyond what is published on this side and learn about upcoming events and opportunities to get engaged.



What's New?

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 18, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part IV

Welcome to part IV of our Easter Special. The physical limitations that often go hand in hand with an amputation are only one aspect of living with a disability. Stigmatization and social exclusion are other aspects that need to be overcome. CoRSU is working with a wholistic approach to assist people with disabilities to fully participate in all the activities of their communities and live a life in dignity. Providing amputees with a prosthetic device is often only the first step in a long rehabilitation process. Read Jimmy's story, who suffered an amputation after osteomyelitis, but now leads the life of a happy teenager. read more

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 17, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part III

Welcome to part III of our Easter Special on the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU) Hospital in Entebbe. Today I want you to meet Kaweesa Moses, a prosthetist and orthotist. He chose this professional as a result of wanting to help his brother to walk again. read more

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 16, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part II

Welcome to part II of our Easter Special on the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU) Hospital in Entebbe. Today you meet a little boy named Miracle. One of the many patients who benefited from the great services that the CoRSU team offers. Having access to a police like CoRSU is often the deciding factor between a life in dignity, fully integrated into society and a life on the margins of the community, excluded and dependent on others. read more

Guest post by CoRSU Hospital ⎮ April 15, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Easter Special: CoRSU Hospital in Uganda - part I

During a recent trip to Uganda, I had the chance to link up with Davide, an old friend of mine. We know each other since the early 2000s when we were both living and working in Gulu in northern Uganda.  Davide is the CEO of Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU). Together with an amazing team, they have created an impressive centre that aims at expanding and improving the medical rehabilitation services for children and people with disability in Uganda. So this Easter Special of The Active Amputee is dedicated to this amazing organisation and the impressive services they are providing, day in day out. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ April 7, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Inclusion in action

I have been working on social change for the last 20odd years, mainly as a trainer, consultant and advisor for conflict transformation and peacebuilding projects in Asia and Africa. Since I have started focussing on disability issues, I have applied many of the skills I honed during my years abroad to this new passion of mine. And I am always thankful for opportunities to engage with young people and talk about my life as an amputee. I love the interaction with the kids, their genuine interest and open-mindedness, their creative ideas and willingness to work towards inclusion. I recently had the pleasure of talking with the students from a small school in Wales. And what a fantastic opportunity that was. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ April 3, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Happy birthday to The Active Amputee

This week The Active Amputee is turning two. It was back in April 2017 that the blog went live. A few posts about myself to kick things off before I started reaching out to others with a limb difference. People with a story to tell. People who inspire. Who inform. Who encourage us to try out new things, be active and push the limits. People who were willing to share openly and let us in on their journeys. That was back then. And now, two years later: A few days ago I caught myself browsing through the long list of posts that have been published on my blog. Way over 150 by now. What a privilege, I thought, to be able to get to know so many of you. I never knew how many incredible amputees are out there. People who really beat the odds and push the limits. People who joined my journey. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ March 31, 2019 ⎮ Inform

A new climbing foot for a new climbing season

Just a quick one today. Look at this little beauty which came in the mail recently. The Evolv Adaptive Foot and the corresponding Eldo-Z climbing show. Can’t wait to test this combo at my local climbing wall and out in the crags. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ March 24, 2019 ⎮ Inform

Amazing covers from an Austrian Start-Up

The days of the ugly covers for artificial limbs are finally over. While many prosthetists offered some sort of cover, more often than not they tried to imitate the look of the remaining limb. Designed for function, not for style, they were off the shelf models with a standard look. Dull, boring, lacking any creativity. But recent years have seen a new trend. With the increase in 3D printing a number of start-ups have specialized in providing prosthetic covers, enabling amputees to express their own style and allowing them to wear their prostheses with pride. One of the newest providers of prosthetic covers is ce:koon from Upper Austria. And today I am speaking with Marcos Wakolbinger, its founder and CEO. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ March 24, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The Active Amputee needed a break

Many of you have noticed that I have been quiet for some time. Since the sponsored climb in mid-January and the spring special on amputee parenthood the blog seemed dormant. There were hardly any new articles on The Active Amputee and for many my social media channels felt like empty shells. I felt tired and so The Active Amputee was put on hold. Not an easy decision for me as I am fully committed to this project. But a necessary one to recharge my batteries, re-kindle my passions and create the necessary headspace to be creative again. After almost a month I am now back. Full of energy, full of new ideas, and with exciting new collaborations. read more

Guest post by Chaos Cat ⎮ February 28, 2019 ⎮ Inspire & engage

Five pictures and me: Chaos Cat (English version)

In our new series "Five Pictures and Me" people with amputation introduce themselves by sharing their favorite pictures with us. The opening act is by Lisa, who you already know from her article "Choosing an amputation to finally blossom". Lisa loves the new quality of life she won through a voluntary amputation. Due to bone cancer, Lisa was left with a metal implant in her leg, that left her with a stiff knee for 14 years. Through the amputation she said good bye to her old life and enjoys her new mobility and reclaimed her self-confidence - as these powerful pictures clearly illustrate. read more

Guest post by Chaos Cat ⎮ February 28, 2019 ⎮ Inspire & engage

Fünf Bilder und Ich: Chaos Cat (deutsche Version)

In unserer neuen Serie "Fünf Bilder und Ich" stellen Menschen mit Amputation sich vor, indem sie ihre Lieblingsbilder mit uns teilen. Den Auftakt macht Lisa, die ihr schon aus ihrem Artikel "Eine Amputation wählen, um endlich aufzublühen" kennt. Lisa liebt ihre neu gewonnene Lebensqualität durch eine freiwillige Amputation. Durch Knochenkrebs im Kindesalter hatte sie ein Knochenimplantat im Bein von Oberschenkel bis zum Knie. Nach der großen Operation und nachdem mein Krebs geheilt war, blieb ihr Knie 14 Jahre steif. Nun habt sie mit ihrem alten Leben abgeschlossen und hat ihre Mobilität und ihr Selbstbewusstsein wiedergewonnen - wie diese Bilder eindrucksvoll zeigen. read more

Guest post by Andrea Swallow ⎮ February 13, 2019 ⎮ Inspire

Poetry in motion: A letter to the people I encounter when I run

Andrea has been an amputee for 30 years (motorcycle accident) and it is only the last five years that she has taken a very hard look at how she sees herself and how the choices she makes contribute to loving her body as it is. Andrea has always pursued physical activities that bring her joy, that challenge her mentally and physically and she has been lucky to have had some amazing experiences doing it. "When you’ve experienced rock bottom, you tend to seek lightness by conscious choice:)!" Here is a beautiful poem about her journey of acceptance. read more

Guest post by Josephine Bridges ⎮ February 6, 2019 ⎮ Inform & engage

For people with disabilities staring is part of the package

I recently was asked how many people look at me, now I've had the amputation, and it got me laughing. I laughed mostly because I hadn't actually noticed. I'd spent eleven years with a tremendous set of scars on my left leg and a deformed knee which I quite happily displayed in skirts, shorts etc. I also spent a lot of time with sticks or in wheelchairs, all of which garnered a large amount of attention. Staring never really bothered me in the first place, I was always of the mindset that no amount of staring would ever stop me from dressing or being the way I wanted. Whilst they saw me very clearly, I began to see them less and less, until eventually starers became invisible to my eye. read more

Guest post by Wendi Locatelli ⎮ February 1, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood part V

In our last article of The Active Amputee’s Spring Special on amputee parenthood we hear from sepsis survivor and quadruple amputee Wendi Locatelli. Wendi talks openly about her physical, mental and emotional challenges. She talks openly about her fears that her children are teased because of their mother’s disability. And she talks about the immense relief of having a husband, a family and wider community to fall on onto, to rely on, to help. read more

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ January 31, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood part IV

Yes, there are times when I think that it just sucks being an above-the-knee amputee. Obviously. And often this feeling creeps up on me when I am around my kids. When I want to do things with them and have the feeling that my amputation sets unwanted limits. When the fact that I have an artificial leg seems to dictate what I can and cannot do with them. But while some of this has been annoying for me, it‘s not really an issue for the kids. It never has been. And now, as I am looking back at the last few years and how they have been growing up, I actually think it‘s been good for them to have an amputee dad. Honestly, I think it‘s an advantage. Collateral good, so to speak. Why? Well... read more

Guest post by Linda Olson ⎮ January 30, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood part III

Oh no! This can’t be right! I looked at the positive home pregnancy test again. Come on, make that color change some more. I sat still for a while and waited. Pregnancy was not on my list of things to do right now. Nine months earlier I’d lost both legs above the knee and my right arm just below the shoulder in a train vs car accident. I learned to walk with prostheses using a quad cane and was planning to move back to Los Angeles where I would live by myself and finish the last nine months of my Radiology residency. My thump-thud, toy-soldier walk was loud and looked funny but got me where I needed to go. Doing things with one hand was becoming easier. But am I ready for a pregnancy? read more

Guest post by Joana Waterton ⎮ January 29, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood part II

Joanna lost her leg in a mountaineering accident. She has what is called a Chopart amputation. That means that she has retained a load- bearing heel bone and heel pad. However, due to a needed shortening her amputation presents as a Symes (which is an amputation through the heel bone). Joanna can walk short distances without a prosthesis. Only a few years after her accident, Joanna is expecting her first child. In this personal article she shares her experience of being pregnant while still getting used to her new life as an amputee. read more

 

Guest post by Jasmin Lindemaier ⎮ January 28, 2019 ⎮ Inform

The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood part I

Today we start with another special. A series of articles dedicated to a one special topic, one specific challenge or one impressive person. And this week it’s all about being an amputee parent. Even without a limb difference, the idea of suddenly being responsible for a child can be daunting. Immense joy is regularly mixed with feelings of fear and being completely overwhelmed. Often even more so if you are an amputee. So throughout the course of this week we hear from four amputees, learning about their thoughts on parenthood. Jasmin, a young women from Germany with an above knee amputation - and a regular contributor to The Active Amputee - kicks-off our Spring Special. read more

Guest post by Anoushé Husain ⎮ January 27, 2019 ⎮ Inspire

New movie about Anoushé Husain

Anoushé has recently been featured in a short film that will run in the "Women In Adventure Film Competition 23019". "Over the summer I went for my first proper outdoor climbing trip. The idea of being so far away from home, in a completely new environment with my health being so erratic was terrifying. It took a lot of planning from two of my amazing friends who took all the variable into account to make my trip as easy as possible. We have captured my trip and the challenges in a small video that’s been submitted for a film festival. We share the barriers and fear ahead of the trip and the challenges I experience during it." read more

Guest post by Tracy Morel ⎮ January 23, 2019 ⎮ Inspire

Opportunities don't come knocking on your door!

When I was asked to do this article I felt I was at a flat point. That I had nothing to say? I feel I've pushed my story so far that perhaps people weren't interested anymore? Than I made a promise to myself and nobody else, that 2019 was going to not just be a good year but a GREAT year! My focus was going to be new and my perspective a little changed! I may not be your typical Active Amputee but I don't let that hold me down! As you can see when you read my story. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ January 20, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Living Adaptive Podcast interview with Bjoern Eser

I was recently interviewed by Scott Davidson from The Living Adaptive Podcast. We chatted about a wide range of topics, anything from the importance of accepting difficult times in your life to getting rid of the victim label, from the need to accept the consequences of your decisions to taking responsibility for your own healing journey, from being an amputee dad to my new plans for 2019. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ January 16, 2019 ⎮ Inform & inspire

The Active Amputee 888 metres climbing challenge

Welcome back! This is the first post of 2019. This year will be another exciting year for The Active Amputee. Loads of new things in the making. But more about them in another post soon. Let's first take a look at my first big live event of the year where I took on a major climbing challenge. My goal was to climb 111 routes at my local climbing wall, totalling 888 metres. The idea was to draw attention to disability issues, to showcase the amazing feats that someone with an amputation can do and to raise funds for The Active Amputee. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ December 12, 2018 ⎮ Inform

Soon to come: The Active Amputee Sponsored Climb 2019

Christmas is less than two weeks away and 2018 is slowly coming to an end. I will take a little break over the coming weeks. But before I go offline I want to share some exciting news with you. Something about an event I have been working on for some time. read more

 

Guest post by Erin Ball ⎮ December 9, 2018 ⎮ Inform

Amputee Circus Camp 2019

Mark the date: June 24-30th, 2019. That's when Erin will run the amazing Amputee Circus Camp. The camp is open to anyone with a limb difference over the age of 18. It is being held in Kingston, Ontario at Kingston Circus Arts. read more

 

Guest post by Shelley Brook ⎮ December 5, 2018 ⎮ Inform

Paradox Sports - Breaking down barriers

Paradox Sports is trying to break down barriers and make climbing, and the climbing community, accessible to all. Since 2007, Paradox has run transformative adaptive climbing weekend trips in the most iconic climbing destinations in the United States – Yosemite Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, Red River Gorge, The Tetons, Ouray Ice Park, and more. These trips have been a place to connect, push limits, and change beliefs about what is possible for people living with a disability. read more

 

Guest post by Access Adventures ⎮ December 2, 2018 ⎮ Inform

Be bold and try out something new

Fancy trying water-skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, biking, kiting or skiing? All suitable for amputees. Access Adventures is a non-profit organisation, aiming to improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities through organising outdoor adaptive camps. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ December 1, 2018 ⎮ Inform & inspire

Amazing ideas for amazing amputees

Lsess than a month until Christmas. And while this time should be a time of peace and reflection, it's also about... yes, presents. And it seems, this idea of getting something nice for a family member, a friend, a colleague, a neighbor or the guy helping out with the football training in school stresses some people out. To take some of this stress away from you, here is my list of great presents for active amputees. From a free app over great outdoor gear, from a inspiring book to the vouvher for the amputee circus camp. I hope there is something for all off you. And so much more. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ November 25, 2018 ⎮ Inspire

Inspiration straight from YouTube: Great videos about amputees

Sometimes even the most active of amputees needs a bit of couch potato time. A day off at home. A big mug of steaming coffee. A fire burning in the fire place. And some videos to watch. Here are my top picks for the week. read more

 

Guest post by Sandra Williams and Access2Africa Safaris ⎮ November 21, 2018 ⎮ Inform & inspire

Making the world more accessible for people with disabilities

Fortunately there has been a lot of awareness work focussing on accessible tourism in recent years. On the one hand more and more locations improve their infrastructure and expand their services to make it easier and more enjoyable for people with disabilities. On the other hand there is an increasing number of very experienced tour-operators providing all the hands-on assistance and the local knowledge that is needed to enable people with disabilities to have the time of their life. For today’s article I teamed up with Access2Africa Safaris from South Africa to present one such company and their incredible work. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ November 18, 2018 ⎮ Inform

Hiking poles: Essential hiking gear for active amputees

People who have been following me - either here on my blog or on Instagram - know that I love being active. I feel even better if I can be active in the great outdoors. This passion for being physically active out in mother nature did not change when I decided that it was time for my leg and me to go separate ways. On the contrary, it actually increased as after almost 20 years of being limited by my endoprosthesis I finally had the feeling that everything was possible again. Being active in the outdoors might need a different approach than before, but suddenly the limit was the sky. Here are some tips. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ November 14, 2018 ⎮ Inform & inspire

Dani Burt: World adaptive surfing champion, doctor of physical therapy, above knee amputee, motivational speaker

After surviving a motorcycle crash that put her in a long coma, Dani knew her life would never be the same again. She felt lost, confused, hurt and without hope. But her life was not over. It took many unexpected turns and today she is living her dreams. Learn more about her road to recovery and the many ways in which she now gives back and supports people who faced life-changing events. read more

Photo copyright by Michael Bresnan

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ November 8, 2018 ⎮ Inform

Das Genium X3 im Alltagstest

Im ersten Teil dieses Interviews haben wir Jasmin und Andreas etwas näher kennengelernt. Die beiden haben ihre jeweils ganz persönliche Geschichte mit uns geteilt. Sie haben uns erzählt, was sie in Zukunft noch so vorhaben und welche Ansprüche sie an eine Prothetikversorgung stellen. Andreas und Jasmin testen zur Zeit das überarbeitete Genium X3. Das Gelenk als auch einige andere Passteile wurden den beiden für einige Wochen von Ottobock zur Verfügung gestellt. Heute werden wir mehr von ihnen hören, welche Erfahrungen sie bis jetzt mit dem Knie so gemacht haben. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ November 8, 2018 ⎮ Inform

First impressions of the new Genium X3

In the first part of this interview we got to know Jasmin and Andreas a bit better. The two of them shared their personal stories with us. They told about their plans for the future and what they expected from a prosthetic device to help them live their dreams. Andreas and Jasmin are currently testing the revised Genium X3. The knee as well as some other parts are provided to them by Ottobock so they can test them for a month. Today we will hear about their experiences so far. read more

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ November 7, 2018 ⎮ Inform

In den Startlöchern, um das neue Ottobock Genium X3 zu testen

Diese Woche habe ich das Vergnügen, mit Jasmin und Andreas aus Deutschland zu reden. Beide sind oberschenkelamputiert. Beide sind dies noch garnicht so lange. Beide haben vor ihrer Amputation eine lange Kranken-Odyssee hinter sich. Und beide testen zur Zeit das überarbeitete Genium X3 von Otto Bock. Heute möchte ich euch die beiden kurz vorstellen. Und morgen hören wir dann mehr über ihre Erfahrungen mit dem Kniegelenk. read more

 

 

Post by Bjoern Eser ⎮ November 7, 2018 ⎮ Inform

In the starting blocks to test the new Ottobock Genium X3

This week I have the pleasure to talk to Jasmin and Andreas from Germany. Both are above knee amputees. Both haven't been amputated for very long. Both have had a long odyssey before their amputation. And both are currently testing the revised Genium X3 by Ottobock. Today I would like to introduce them to you. And tomorrow we will hear more about their experiences with the micro-processor prosthesis. read more

 

 

Guest post by Michael Woods ⎮ November 4, 2018 ⎮ Inform

The seven pillars of inclusion

It is a fact, in many countries around the world, that some people face disadvantage when it comes to getting involved in sport activities. There are particular subgroups that have nuances and requirements that we need to cater for in order to ensure they can participate fully. So the question is, if we know these challenges exist what do we actually do about it? How do we take action on inclusion in our sport clubs and organisations? How do we talk about it? This post takes you through seven key aspects of inclusion. read more

 

 


Inform

In the inform section, you will find information about a range of issues amputees regularly have to deal with. Expect issues ranging from handling phantom pain to new developments in the prosthetic sector, from being an amputee parent to finding the right prosthetic cover etc. Anything that helps to make informed choices and make life as an amputee easier.

Inspire

In the inspire section, you will find exciting stories from other amputees. Expect travel reports and biographies from amputee adventurers, interviews with people who took on special challenges and stories about creative approaches to live a rewarding life as an amputee.

Engage

In the engage section, you will find information about special events for amputees, opportunities to try out something new, links to other organisations, information about support options and funding - and invitations to take part in one of the regular The Active Amputee challenges.