A Festival For All Amputees
Dreaming big - and making it happen. Imagine a time and place where many amputees, possibly hundreds of them, come together from different parts of the world. They come together for a common purpose. Simply to enjoy health & fitness activities including Sports, Yoga, Dance, all movement arts etc. There are no awards, no medals, no validation of your participation. The experience is its own reward. That is exactly what Sanjay Arora is working on.
I lost my left forearm as a result of a car accident. One evening, I was driving in my car, listening to my favourite music (you guessed it - Bollywood!), looking forward to meeting my buddies the next day. And boom! About 20 hours later, I woke up in the hospital minus my left hand.
It doesn't matter how or why you end with with limb loss. Nothing will prepare you for the trauma & the shock. Even if you know it's coming, and you can watch all the videos, read all the books, but once you lose the limb, your mind will generate a whole lot of new questions, and a bunch of new anxieties.
They key to my recovery were the people around me. I am very fortunate to have them in my life. My family, my friends, my colleagues from my past employer. It made me see the world in a completely different way. I'm still in awe of the potential of love. And I'm not talking about Romantic love here. I'm talking about humanity & community.
The one thing I did not have was access to, was a community of amputees. I remember the day, about 3 months after my amputation, I saw another guy with a missing forearm. I ran up to him, stopped him and told him that my amputation was recent, and I had a bunch of questions. Before he could respond, I asked him if my phantom pain would ever go away. He just said 'No', and walked on.
That experience was not very up-lifting. I guess he had more pressing issues to attend to on that day.
After losing my forearm, I traveled quite a bit. Partly because I was lost. Partly because I was trying to find something. Looking back, it seems I was seeking Hope. You can take everything away from a man, and he will still live everyday to its full potential - only if he has hope.
As an amputee, you can buy the most advanced prosthesis out there. But you cannot buy hope. And you cannot 'achieve' hope. You have to allow it to find its way to you. The secret lies in finding
value by serving others. When you see your potential in being able to help others, in spite of your 'disability' the magic of transformation happens. And suddenly - you are healed.
The World Amputee Fitness Festival
Imagine a time and place where many amputees, possibly hundreds of them, come together from different parts of the world. They come together for a common purpose. Simply to enjoy health & fitness activities including Sports, Yoga, Dance, all movement arts etc. There are no awards, no medals, no validation of your participation. The experience is its own reward.
New amputees also come here. They come here to 'experience HOPE'. As a new amputee - you would see the different stages of a person's recovery first hand. You would hear stories of loss and recovery face to face. You would crack jokes and at the same time laugh at them. You will make friends who are living examples of what you can be.
No one will tell you that you will be fine. Because you will feel fine in the present. You would be able to try out different sports and activities first hand. You would be able to try out different prosthesis yourself or get feedback from others about them.
Different societies carry differing baggages of historically held cultural views on handicap and disability. We live in a time when technology is completely changing the definition of ‘Ability’.
At WAFF, you would notice the differences in cultural connotations when it comes to disability, as well as sample the latest technology in action. And you will step out of your culturally imposed
limitations on handicap.
Join Us And Make It Happen
The vision above is shared by a small group of us currently committed to making this into a reality. However, the actual festival is based on little steps by many individuals. As unique as you are, you are free to contribute at your convenience, and in your way. The festival is yours to create. And yours to participate.
We want to enable all amputees to participate and contribute to the festival in their own way. Sometimes, it can seem like a challenge even thinking about helping others, when you are struggling yourself. The key lies in little steps.
"You don't have to be a hero, to not be a victim."
There are many inspiring stories about amputees doing wonderful things all over the world. Every one of them took one step at a time. You don't have to be an olympic level athlete or an award winning author to be able to help a few people.
This festival is created with the average Jane / Joe in mind - someone who has lost a limb(s), but continues to live as normal a life as (s)he can. It is a chance for them to come enjoy a nice
vacation with their peers, while promoting health & fitness - one little step at a time.
How To Contribute
(Disclaimer by The Active Amputee: I am happy to share information about The World Amputee Fitness Festival. Responsibility for the event and the information provided on the The World Amputee Fitness Festival homepage and the following links lies solely with the event's organisers.)
- 1. Come and attend the festival. Participate in an event. Host an event. More information here (scroll to bottom of the page).
- 2. Take on an active role in promoting the festival. Be an ambassador. More information here (scroll to bottom of the page).
- 3. Be a part of the Management and Leadership Team if you believe in the vision. We are looking for assistance from amputees who are doing well in society. It is part time volunteer work. You can start by contacting us.
- 4. We are currently in talks with Ottobock and Glaze Prosthetics. These two organization have confirmed their intention to support us with the festival. If you know someone at other organizations such as Ossur, CPI, Freedom Innovations, Steeper, Trulife, APC, Rush Foot - we would like to connect with them.
- 5. Finally - we have also started a fundraising campaign here.
Guest post by Sanjay Arora. Sanjay is founder of the World Amputee Fitness Festival. Prior to this, he worked in the telecommunications industry in several Engineering & Marketing roles. He enjoys cooking, running, cycling & playing badminton. He lives in Pune/India with his beautiful & supporting wife and an amazing & naughty son.