There is great inequality in the worldwide distribution of prosthetic components: The supply is worst in populations with the highest need. It’s tragic that so many components are oversupplied in higher-income countries while countless people in lower- and middle-income countries remain immobilized by the lack of components. This mismatch occurs every time an outgrown prosthesis gets shoved into a closet in the United States, or a non-billable component gets shelved in a warehouse in Germany. The solution to improving supply doesn’t lie in catchy ‘appropriate technology for the poor’. Instead it lies in improved access to components that already exist. To achieve this we must all be part of the solution: We must all choose to recycle for mobility.
Here is something I wrote a couple of years ago when I started running again; for the first time in 28 years. As a teen, running was my love and outlet. I never wanted to pursue it as an amputee because I was convinced that the feeling could not be re-created as I remembered it. Until the blade. How I love that blade.
The journey through re-discovering running turned into so much more for me. It further cultured an acceptance of my body, my self and a respect for the way it carries me through life. It fuelled
my desire to push how society defines disability as a negative and to challenge the perceptions we all carry within us regarding our own abilities.
Earlier this week we saw people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, a global holiday to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. Furthermore the day is also a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence against women.
This new project of mine has been in the making for long. Far too long actually, if you ask me. But it looks as if I can soon move from thinking about it to actually getting started with it. Finally. And more than a year behind schedule. Honestly, I can’t wait to get going. But wait a minute; what am I actually talking about? Well…. I am talking about a new walking project of mine. A project I have been playing around with for some time. A project have been changing over and over again until it finally felt right. A project that might take up to two years to complete.
Last month I announced yet another challenge for 2021. As I turn 50 this year, I want to add 12 more challenges for this year, One per month. And each and every one of these challenges will centre around the number 50. I asked for your ideas of what these challenges and special activities should do. And you sent me your ideas. Some are more of a sporty and adventurous nature, others are different and focus on books, music, and other passions of mine. And as January saw me crack the 'being able to do 50 push-ups in one go' challenge, I decided on a book one for February. You asked about my 50 favorite books. And here is my list (an ever-changing list, I must admit).
Today I am re-publishing one of the most-read articles on my blog. Since this post was first published about two years ago, Wendi's honest and life-affirming report has found an ever-increasing audience. Wendi is a sepsis survivor and quadruple amputee. And she openly talks about her physical, mental and emotional challenges. As this has been such an important source of information for many - especially young - people with a limb difference, I decided to publish Wendi's post again.
The headline says it all. Well, almost all, that is. This year I am turning 50. It's still a few months down the line - end of September, to be precise - and I thought that's a great incentive to take on a few extra challenges this year. And after some soul searching and some playing around with a wide range of possible options I have settled on the following: In 2021 I will take on one additional challenge per month. And each and every one of these challenges will centre around the number 50. What could this look like? Well, the details are further down below. And some ideas of how to get involved.
Yes, finally it’s out. The USB charging device from OttoBock to charge its microprocessor knees. This is something I have been waiting for for a long time. And looking back at the last 20odd years, this device will be up there among the few items which really broke new grounds for active amputees. After the introduction of microprocessor knees and the first fully waterproof microprocessor devices this charger is another big step to be fully independent.
Happy new year to you all. I hope you had a nice and peaceful Christmas break and a good start into the new year. I hope 2021 will be a good year for all of you.
Today I would like to give you a quick overview of what I have been up to, what is on my list for the coming weeks, and where I would love to get you involved. So.... drum roll please!
2020 is slowly coming to an end. So this is the last article for this year. But before The Active Amputee heads for a holiday break, I am very happy to announce a new partnership. Larry Borowsky from Amplitude Magazin and I have decided to team up for a series of articles for 2021. This will allow us to share more information, strengthen our ties, and thus serve the limb loss community even better. Today's article by Larry on the evolution of smart prosthetics kicks off this new partnership. And I am already looking forward to more exciting conversations in the future.
In recent years more and more books focussing on what it means to live a rewarding life as an amputee/person with a limb difference have been published. So after the recent article about brilliant TED talks, I would now like to draw your attention to a handful of amazing books by and about people with a limb difference. All of them have talked about their respective book in the latest episode of The Active Amputree Podcast.
Nothing like a good talk if delivered by a brilliant speaker with a story to tell. This combination of information and entertainment that challenge my assumptions, stimulate new thinking, or cause me to smile a big witty smile. Among my favorite talks are TED talks. They are such a great combination of brilliant info, inspirational journeys and though provoking daring big picture thinking. Here are twelve TED talks every amputee should listen to.
Fay Keegan was only eleven years old when she was involved in a train accident that crushed her foot. After more than four decades in which she battled feelings of denial, anger, grief and loss, Fay decided to say goodbye to her foot and start anew. Fay regular shared her thoughts on her blog 'missing foot notes', where this article was first published in May 2017.
Throw back to the summer days: Summer comes along with endless opportunities for being active in, on and around the water. While water sports are generally great fun, they are especially well suited for lower limb amputees: They offer the added advantage of the water carrying most of our weight. An advantage not to be underestimated for many amputees.
I recently stumbled across an Instagram post by Steve aka @real.macksteve letting is know that his book is now at a stage where it is ready to hit the printing press and be available to the public. As I am always on the lookout for good stories and new additions to me book shelf, I reached out to Steve and asked him a bit more about what we can expect from his book. And this is what I learned.
Osseointegration surgery for lower limb amputees is not a new procedure. There has been experience with this technique within the UK since the 1990’s and overseas prior to this. Recently, a new wave of interest has formed with both non-military and military injured leg amputees regularly traveling abroad to undergo surgery.
In anticipation of my upcoming interview with Adenike Oyetunde, I would like to share another inspiring TEDx Talk by her. Do yourself a favor and please watch this short video. It's a real treat and full of simple but powerful insights. It's a timely reminder that helping others is not only about money.
You want to make yourself stronger, improve your adaptability and raise your stress threshold? Yes, but how can that be done in a safe and dosed manner? Who has the right expertise and experience to help you with this? Not only physically, but especially mentally and emotionally? Three time cancer survivor Michael Robbert Brans found the right challenge for himself: The Unbreakable.
"We still climb!" reads this year's motto of the Range of Motion Project (ROMP). It's adaptive team is to climb 19,347 feet in 48-hours to help amputee patients in need of prosthetic care.
A group of diverse athletes both able-bodied and adaptive from across the United States and Ecuador will join forces on September 25-27 on behalf of the non-profit Range of Motion Project (ROMP) to provide prosthetic care to amputees who do not have access. While the team’s original goal was to summit Ecuador’s 19,347-foot volcano, the trip was postponed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As they await their opportunity to climb Cotopaxi, the group has teamed up to collectively climb a total of 19,347 vertical feet in seven locations during a 48-hour climb-a-thon September 25-27
Hi, everyone! I am Suranjana Ghosh, an Osteosarcoma survivor and above knee amputee from Mumbai, India. Most people mangle my name, so I go by an abbreviated version of it, which is Su.
I am here on The Active Amputee, to share some of my experiences and perspectives from being a South Asian, brown woman with an acquired disability. For this first post, I’d like to start by telling you a bit of my story.
I have joined hands with Chris from South Africa so that together we will be able to offer even more information and inspiration to an even wide variety of people with limb differences. As you will hear more from Chris over the coming months, I thought it's time I introduce him to you officially.
Today I would like to introduce you to Chris from South Africa. You will hear more from him over the coming monhts. Chris and I joined hands to be able to offer more information and inspiration to a wide variety of people with limb differences. From now on Chris will be a regular contributor to The Active Amputee. I will tell you a bit more a bout him and his story in a few days' time. But for now, let's start with the first guest post by Chris. An article about how finding the right prosthetist made all the difference for him to be able to live a pain-free, active, and fulfilling life as an amputee.
As part of my cooperation with yoocan, I would like to share the story of Lisa Ludwig. Lisa was diagnosed with cancer at an early age. While the osteosarcoma took her leg, it never took her spirit and positive attitude. Several years later she is an active mentor to other cancer patients and amputees and - for some time - had taken up the role as brand ambassador for a company that produces prosthetic covers.
My story started when I was 15 years old. And although the diagnosis from back then has little relevance for my life today, those days have had an immense impact on me - also in a positive way. Those days have shaped me and made me who I am today. From one day to the next my life changed completely. Suddenly nothing was as it used to be.
This week is a special week as I have been teaming up with the folks from Paradox Sports in the US to bring the amazing sport of paraclimbing to the attention of more people with limb differences and other disabilities. As some of you might know, Paradox Sports is breaking down barriers by making 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.
In a joint effort to spread the word about this amazing organization, about a sport that is dear to us, and about the joy it can bring to people of all abilities, we hear from Shelley Brook, the operations manager from Paradox Sports. Paradox Sports will publish one of my posts on its webpage. And we are currently recording the next podcast for The Active Amputee (the Auguts issues), featuring Dom Pascariello, the organization's National Program Manager. So stay tuned.
Adenike Oyetunde is a lawyer and radio presenter from Nigeria‘s economic and cultural powerhouse Lagos. She lost one of her legs due to bone cancer when she was in her early twenties. Adenike, always full of ideas, recently founded Amputees United, an initiative to assist cancer patients and amputees. "I want to help them wade through the storm, because honestly, I went through this, that I may help them on their journey. We at the Amputees United Initiative would love to help them come to terms with their new reality."
Most above-knee amputees know this problem: Finding the right prosthetic knee is not an easy task. For most of us it means working out the right compromise between our day-to-day needs, our spare time interests, and our ambitions for the next couple of years on the one hand and our health insurance plan or financial means on the other hand. This in itself is already rather complex. Things get even more complicated if we take into account that even the best of knees can only unfold its full potential if mounted under a well-fitting socket, combined with a good foot that suits our activity level.
So much for the theory. But what does this actually mean in practice? Well, there are several ways of dealing with this challenge. And there are significant differences depending on the country you live in and the health service that applies to you. So…
As many of you already know: I am a huge fan of podcasts and audiobooks. While - way back when I was single and without kids - I used to work my way through tons of books each year, audio formats are now my favorite medium to stay informed about the world around me. Anything from political analysis to a thrilling crime story, from travel literature to tips and tricks for entrepreneurs . So it's great news for me that there is an ever-increasing number of high quality, very informative, pioneering shows out there. And most of them are completely free.
I guess many of you are also avid podcats listeners. And if you are not yet hooked, maybe you are willing to give it a try. Back in September 2018 I introduced you to some of my favorite shows of the time (if you missed the article back then, here is the link). Since then, more shows are up and running and I think it's time for an update on great podcasts for people with a limb difference.
So (drum roll please) here we go!
I am Angela and I lead a humble life in London. I trained as a nurse in 1970 to 1974 majoring in Adult and Pediatrics. I had a passion to work in a ward majorly for children with disability. When I was expecting my first child, I could hardly bear the emotional toll of the seeing amazing little children suffering. Unfortunately, after having four healthy children, I still did not go back to nursing for quite a long time. I spent a bulk of my career in private practice, working with a general practitioner and a series of years in the non-profit space. I then took a drastic detour and trained to be a priest in the Church of England.
Following a life-changing accident in 2010 resulting in a spinal cord injury and the amputation of his right leg below the knee, Josh has been coming back strongly. Since the very beginning, his aim has been to be rehabbing until he reaches a stage where Josh can do everything he was able to do prior to his injuries. "My goal is to make myself a better, and more capable version of myself every day." Listen to the full interview with Josh on the new episode of The Active Amputee podcast.
Welcome to part IV of our mini-series. 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.
Welcome to part III of this special mini series. While last time you got to know Miracle, one of the many people whose life was changed by CoRSU, I would like you meet Moses today, the head of the prosthetic unit at the centre.
Welcome to part II of our 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.
After a very hectic two months in which adjusting to the special Corona situation dominated my daily routines - moving my business online, getting used to home schooling three kids, organising the weekly supply runs for a family of six withour a car etc. - things are slowly returning to a more manageble pace. And with this new pace, it's time for a new episode of The Active Amputee Podcast.
During a recent trip to Uganda, I had the chance to link up with 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. It was back in the days when a brutal civil war was raging in the Acholi subregion of this East African country. I was working with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu while Davide was committing his time and expertise to the health sector. As an experienced physiotherapist and with an immense passion for providing desperately needed services to people with disabilities, he was instrumental in setting up the orthopedic workshop of the regional hospital and working on landmine awareness programs in Uganda and neighboring Sudan. Since 2015 Davide is the CEO of Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU), a private non-profit, non-government organization. Together with an amazing team of highly committed people, they have created an impressive centre that aims at expanding and improving the medical rehabilitation services for children and people with disability in Uganda. Since its foundation in 2006 CoRSU has changed the lives of thousands of people in East Afrika. And the Easter Special of The Active Amputee is dedicated to this amazing organisation and the impressive services they are providing, day in day out. Today’s post will provide you with some background information of what it means to be disabled in Uganda. Tomorrow you will meet some of the patients and later on in the week you will hear from one of the volunteers who is committed to making in difference in the lives of the people for whom CoRSU is often the only hope.
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.
Imagine having to take the decision to amputate your child’s foot. That is the decision Kendra's parents were faced with when she was born with a malformed foot. Years later Kendra puts her experiences into words, writes them down and publishes her memoirs. 'WHOLE: A Leg Up On Life' invites you to learn more about her journey. In her bookl Kendra is open about her stuggles but never gives in to stereotypes. Her biography is a life-affirming testimony to her inner strength and courage. And today Kendra tells us a bit about this new book and why she wrote it.
I recently published a short overview over various companies producing prosthetic covers (you find the full article here), pointing out how the recent developments in 3D printing allow people with amputations to express their individual style through by choosing the look of their artificial limbs. I then ran an interview with McCauley Wanner from the ALLELES design studio in Victoria/Canada (you find the full interview here). This mini series about prosthetic covers is continuing today with a post by the Brazilian company ID Ethnos.
I have never been too interested in team sports. People who have been following this blog for some time know that I love to be active in the outdoors. Hiking, kayaking, climbing - that is my world. Enjoying a day out in mother nature, challenging myself, exploring the world around me, one place at a time, that’s what makes me happy. And more often than not, I do this by myself. Quality me-time, so to speak. Time to let the mind wander (and wonder); time to recharge my batteries; time to get into a different headspace and come up with new and creative ideas for my day job and the various projects I run. Having said all that there is one exception to my „I have never been too interested in team sports“. And that is sitting volleyball.
It is with great sadness that I recently learned about the passing of Patrice Méaume. Late last year, Patrice died from a heart attack while out playing soccer with friends. Unfortunately, his passing came only weeks before his first child was born.
Patrice was an incredible artist and an outspoken advocate for people with a disability. He constantly tried to shift the narrative. For him being disabled had nothing to do with being either the object of pity or heroism. With a witty sense of humour and a keen eye he portrait us as we are. His work celebrates the immense richness of our lives.
Patrice was featured on The Active Amputee in April of 2019. Today I am reposting his pictures and the short texts he sent me back then. Today I want to remember Patrice, his work and his efforts as a disability rights advocate.
I'm not sure how many times I have been called inspirational in my life. If I was given a penny for every time, I'd have a mansion by now. The word makes me hugely uncomfortable and I know I'm not the only one who is differently-abled or different that feels this. For this article, I decided to dig a bit deeper and work out why I feel the way I do.
Daily activities can be a little bit challenging when you’re missing a leg. Now add the weight of a pack, and varying elevations on uneven terrain out in the mountains and you are definitely going to see how not graceful I am. But so what? This post is going to talk about how to get outdoors and see these beautiful places even as an amputee.
Joanna describes her very own ways of dealing with stump pain. Chemical painkillers are only a last resort.
"For the first time, in April 2015, I traveled far away from France. For years, I wanted to discover other cultures. So when I finished my studies I didn't hesitate and bought a flight ticket to Japan. Three amazing weeks! During these vacations in the country of the rising sun, I caught the travel bug and I realised this passion was about to become a central part of my life." That's how Aurélie's amazing story started a few years ago.
Wow, how time flies. It has been a year ago that I took on the 888m climbing challenge to raise funds for The Active Amputee. And what a year it has been. A year full of engagements with amazing amputees; a year in which the daily routine has regularly been pierced by memory-making moments out in the wild; a year full of challenges in relation to my work, my health and the way we live. And a year in which I was forced to step back from some of my commitments, take a break for some time, recharge my batteries and refocus my priorities.
Now - 12 months later - The Active Amputee is back in full swing. New articles are in the making, new cooperations are developing and new and exciting projects are being hatched. It looks like 2020 will be an amazing year. But before I tell you more about what the coming months have in stock, lets look back at January 12, 2019.
My personal experience of birthing and raising a daughter with a missing tibia and knee cap inspired the set-up of The IREDE Foundation. I wanted to share the comfort I had with other parents and the abilities in disabilities. In addition there was a desire to pour out my heart by writing out my daily frustrations and concerns as I managed my daughter. The need to reach out with a message of hope to child amputees and their families continually spurs me to action. We at The IREDE Foundation are out to educate and create awareness on amputation and limb loss among the general public, hoping to reduce stigmatisation to the barest minimum. We also run a support group to reach out to the families and the amputees themselves. Thirdly we empower amputees via the provision of prostheses and mentoring.
January 1, 2020. The first day of the new year. Well, actually the first day of the new decade. And thus a great day to kick off a new and exciting year for The Active Amputee. Today I would like to recommend five people to you whose Instagram accounts you should follow in 2020. And… drum roll please… the five people to watch are the following.
The Active Amputee aims to inspire, inform and engage people with a limb difference as well as their families, prosthetists, medical personal and people from the prosthetic industry. As you all know I am great believer in the power of communities and in the value of connecting people - both locally and in person as well as globally through the world wide web. And so I was very excited when I recently discovered something new. Something I would like to bring to your attention. This something is a new community called Prothesengemeinschaft (which roughly translates into Community of Prostheses - a word play which works far better in German than it does in English. But I guess you get what it’s all about!). The core piece of this new community is an app and the shakers and makers behind it run a weekly podcast.
In our series "Five Pictures and Me" people with amputation introduce themselves by sharing their favorite pictures with us. Today: Andrew Gregory - below knee amputee, pole dancer, artist, model and the gold medal winner at the recent International Pole Sports Federation world championships.
Throwback to earlier this summer: After almost six years it was time to say goodbye to my old prosthetic knee and start thinking about a new one. Since 2013 I had been using the Genium from Otto Bock in combination with the Triton foot. And all in all, this is a great knee which allowed me to be active and live a fulfilling life. I had some issues. But most of the frustrations over the last couple of years came down to the socket and not to the knee itself. There was only one issue that always bothered me: Not being able to use the leg in the water.
As you all know, I love being outdoors. Walking in the hills, paddling along the coast or spending time at a local crag - for me these moments are precious and something I cannot get enough of. Unfortunately the fact that the Genium is not waterproof put some - unnecessary - limitations on me and what I was able to do.
So with the lifespan of my old prosthesis slowly coming to an end I had the rare opportunity for a new - maybe waterproof - leg. An opportunity not to be missed. An opportunity to think about my needs as an active user, to get advice from a trusted prosthetist - and here my collaboration with PACE was essential -, to chat with other amputees and potentially try out different models to see what works best for me.
This page is made by amputees. And it is made for amputees and their families. The Active Amputee wants to enable you to make informed decisions by providing unbiased information. The Active Amputee wants to inspire action through the sharing of stories. And the Active Amputee wants to build a community of active amputees by encouraging engagement and mutual support. Nothing more, nothing less. It‘s as easy and simple as that.
The people involved in The Active Amputee love to hear from you. Give us feedback about this page, send in your stories so that we can share them with others, let us know about events that are of interest for amputees, suggest topics you would like to read more about, ask questions. Really, anything that relates to amputee issues is of interest for The Active Amputee and could be featured on this side. Here is the contact form.