The Active Amputee Easter Special: CoRSU in Uganda - part IV

Jimmy is happy with his new prosthesis, allowing him to finally play with his friends again (picture courtesy of CoRSU)
Jimmy is happy with his new prosthesis, allowing him to finally play with his friends again (picture courtesy of CoRSU)

Overcoming Social Exclusion

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.

 

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The Active Amputee Easter Special: CoRSU in Uganda - part III

Moses decided to become a prosthetist in order to help his brother (picture courtesy of CoRSU)
Moses decided to become a prosthetist in order to help his brother (picture courtesy of CoRSU)

A Very Personal Journey

Welcome to part II of this year’s Easter special. While yesterday you got to know Moses, 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.

 

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The Active Amputee Easter Special: CoRSU in Uganda - part II

Miracle is a happy little boy living a normal life after both his legs were amputated and he received his first set of prosthetic legs (picture courtesy of CoRSU).
Miracle is a happy little boy living a normal life after both his legs were amputated and he received his first set of prosthetic legs (picture courtesy of CoRSU).

No Child Left Behind

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.

 

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The Active Amputee Easter Special: CoRSU in Uganda - part I

Chatting with one of the prosthetists at CoRSU Hospital in Uganda.
Chatting with one of the prosthetists at CoRSU Hospital in Uganda.

CoRSU, A Place That Gives Hope To Tens Of Thousands Of People With Disabilities

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.

 

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Inclusion in action

Engaging with children and youth around disability issues is a rewarding experience
Engaging with children and youth around disability issues is a rewarding experience

Six Practical Ideas To Run Amputee Awareness Sessions In Schools

I have been working on social change for the last 20odd years. Since the late 1990s I have been earning a living as a trainer, consultant and advisor for conflict transformation and peacebuilding projects, mainly 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 very 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. What a fantastic opportunity (thanks Julie for the invitation). Here are some pictures from the event - and some practical ideas if you are also interested to engage with schools, youth clubs and the like. I hope they make things easier.

 

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Happy birthday to The Active Amputee

My first walk in the hills after my amputation: Hay Bluff and Lord Hereford's Knob in the Brecon Beacons
My first walk in the hills after my amputation: Hay Bluff and Lord Hereford's Knob in the Brecon Beacons

Two Years Of Information, Inspiration And Encouragement

The days of the ugly covers for artificial limbs are finally over.  While many prosthetists offered some sort of cover or another, more often than not they tried to imitate the look of the remaining limb. And often, very often, it wasn‘t even a good imitation. 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.

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - The Evolv Adaptive Foot

The Evolv Adaptive Foot
The Evolv Adaptive Foot

Building On Evolv’s Long Ties With The Adaptive Climbing Community

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.

 

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ce:koon - A new company providing prosthetic covers

Design, functionality and a boost to your confidence (picture courtesy of ce:koon)
Design, functionality and a boost to your confidence (picture courtesy of ce:koon)

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 or another, more often than not they tried to imitate the look of the remaining limb. And often, very often, it wasn‘t even a good imitation. 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.

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - I am back in full swing

Allowing for some down-time to recharge my batteries and get back into the right mindset
Allowing for some down-time to recharge my batteries and get back into the right mindset

The Active Amputee Needed A Break…

…but is now back in full swing, bursting with new ideas, new energy and exciting new cooperations. 

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Fünf Bilder und Ich - Chaos Cat

Fünf Bilder und Ich: "Dieses Bild zeigt mich sehr gut so wie ich bin. Die Prothese ist wie ein Teil von mir geworden, welches ich lange vermisst habe." (picture courtesy of Chaos Cat)
Fünf Bilder und Ich: "Dieses Bild zeigt mich sehr gut so wie ich bin. Die Prothese ist wie ein Teil von mir geworden, welches ich lange vermisst habe." (picture courtesy of Chaos Cat)

Mein Leben Mit Amputation in Fünf Bilder

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.

 

"Mein Name ist Lisa und ich liebe meine neu gewonnene Lebensqualität, durch eine freiwillige Amputation. Durch Knochenkrebs im Kindesalter hatte ich ein Knochenimplantat im Bein von Oberschenkel bis zum Knie. Nach der großen Operation und nachdem mein Krebs geheilt war, blieb mein Knie 14 Jahre steif. Nun habe ich mit meinem alten Leben abgeschlossen und habe noch mehr Mobilität und Selbstbewusstsein  gewonnen."

 

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Five pictures and me - Chaos Cat

Five pictures and Me: "This picture shows me as I am. The prosthesis has become like a part of me that I missed for a long time." (picture courtesy of Chaos Cat)
Five pictures and Me: "This picture shows me as I am. The prosthesis has become like a part of me that I missed for a long time." (picture courtesy of Chaos Cat)

My Life As An Amputee In Five Pictures

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".

 

"My name is Lisa and I love my newly won quality of life through a voluntary amputation. Bone cancer in childhood caused me to have a bone implant in my leg, all the way from thigh to knee. After a major surgery and after my cancer was cured, my knee remained stiff for 14 years. Now I have said good bye to my old life and have gained even more mobility and self-confidence".

 

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Poetry in motion

The amazing feeling of running again - after 28 years (picture courtesy of Andrea Swallow)
The amazing feeling of running again - after 28 years (picture courtesy of Andrea Swallow)

A Journey That Leads To Acceptance

Here is something I wrote two 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.

 

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For people with disabilities staring comes as part of the package

No amount of staring would ever stop me from being me (picture courtesy of Josephine Bridges)
No amount of staring would ever stop me from being me (picture courtesy of Josephine Bridges)

A Staring Contest

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. I think I'd gotten so used to it by this point that I didn't see any difference post-amputation, I'd never thought to calculate the numbers. 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.

 

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The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood - Part V

Enjoying life again after losing her limbs to a sepsis: Wendi with her family (picture courtesy of Wendi Locatelli)
Enjoying life again after losing her limbs to a sepsis: Wendi with her family (picture courtesy of Wendi Locatelli)

A Life After Sepsis

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.

 

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The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood - Part IV

Three reasons why it's cool to have an amputee dad
Three reasons why it's cool to have an amputee dad

The Benefits Of Growing Up Around An Amputee

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 (three lovely kids, the youngest one is six, the other two are 13 and 16). 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. 

 

I remember how I wished I had two legs when our little one was crying in the middle of the night. When I just wanted to get up and carry him around for a bit so he would fall back to sleep within minutes. Instead I first had to switch on the lights, get into my prosthesis and make sure it fits properly. Only then could I pick him up and start walking around. By that time he was normally fully awake. Or when we were in the mountains and it was mainly up to my wife to carry our baby - and later our toddler - up and down then peaks without me being much of a help. Or when we are near the sea, a lake or just the local swimming pool and I want to run around with the kids, dash in and out of the water, be silly, have fun. Or now that the youngest one is about to learn how to ride his bike and I am not able to run next to him, support him, show and teach him how its done.

 

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...

 

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The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood - Part III

"My husband Dave wanted to have two or three children and I was supposed to be the mom." (picture courtesy of Linda Olson)
"My husband Dave wanted to have two or three children and I was supposed to be the mom." (picture courtesy of Linda Olson)

Ob Baby...We're Going To Have Kids!

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. 

 

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The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood - Part II

Embracing a pregnancy shortly after losing a limb can be a major challenge. But one that is manageable, as Joanna tells us.
Embracing a pregnancy shortly after losing a limb can be a major challenge. But one that is manageable, as Joanna tells us.

My Pregnancy As An Amputee

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.

  

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The Active Amputee Spring Special - Amputee parenthood - Part I

A year after her amputation, Jasmin and her husband think about having children (Picture courtesy of Jasmin Lindenmaier)
A year after her amputation, Jasmin and her husband think about having children (Picture courtesy of Jasmin Lindenmaier)

Desire To Have Children After An Amputation?

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 often mixed with feelings of fear and being completely overwhelmed. 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.

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - If I Can movie with Anoushé Husain

When you do something you never thought was ever possible (picture copyright by Ben Grubb and courtesy of Anoushé Husain))
When you do something you never thought was ever possible (picture copyright by Ben Grubb and courtesy of Anoushé Husain)

Women In Adventure Film Competition 2019

Anoushé Husain has been a regular contributor the The Active Amputee. she has recently been featured in a short film that will run in the "Women In Adventure Film Competition 23019". Here is what Anoushé has to tell. 

 

"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. But see for yourself."

 

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Opportunities don’t come knocking on your door

Let nothing ever stop you! (picture courtesy of Tracy Morel)
Let nothing ever stop you! (picture courtesy of Tracy Morel)

Never Stop! Never Give Up!

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.

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Living Adaptive podcast with Bjoern Eser

Chatting with Scott Davidson in his Living Adaptive Podcast (picture courtesy of Scott Davidson)
Chatting with Scott Davidson in his Living Adaptive Podcast (picture courtesy of Scott Davidson)

Interview With Bjoern Eser, Founder Of The Active Amputee

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. But listen for yourself.

 

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The Active Amputee - The 888m climbing challenge

Half way through the 888m climbing challenge.
Half way through the 888m climbing challenge.

Creating awareness, showcasing accomplishments and raising funds

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.

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The Active Amputee - The sponsored climb

Training hard for a sponsored climb in January 2019.
Training hard for a sponsored climb in January 2019.

Seeing The Year Off With A Bang

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.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Amputee Circus Camp

Circus for people of all abilities (picture by Michael East, courtesy of Erin Ball)
Circus for people of all abilities (picture by Michael East, courtesy of Erin Ball)

Amputee Circus Camp 2019

Since I heard about Erin, the double amputee circus artist, in early 2017 I have been a great fan of her and her work. She recently shared some of her plans for the coming year with me. And I would like to share them with you. Exciting developments, if you ask me.

 

 

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Paradox Sports makes climbing accessible to all

Making climbing and the climbing community accessible to all (picture copyright by Andrew Skobac, courtesy of Paradoxsports)
Making climbing and the climbing community accessible to all (picture copyright by Andrew Skobac, courtesy of Paradoxsports)

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.

 

 

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Access Adventures - All suitable for amputees

A double amputee waterskiing (picture courtesy of Access Adventures)
A double amputee waterskiing (picture courtesy of Access Adventures)

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.

 

 

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Amazing presents for amazing amputees

The ideal Christmas present: Send an amputee to the Amputee Circus Camp 2019 in Kingston, Ontario/Canada (picture copyright by Michael East, courtesy of Erin Ball)
The ideal Christmas present: Send an amputee to the Amputee Circus Camp 2019 in Kingston, Ontario/Canada (picture copyright by Michael East, courtesy of Erin Ball)

Great Ideas For Christmas

Less than a month and there it is: Christmas. In my eyes Christmas is all about quality time with loved ones. It’s all about long days out in mother nature followed by even longer evenings in front of an open fire place, a good book in one hand, a huge mug of hot chocolate, coffee or mulled wine in the other. Yes, followed by a good whiskey.

 

For me it’s a time to wind down and focus on the important things in life: As a cancer survivor that is first and foremost being thankful that I am still around, that I can be active and live a rewarding life, often out in the great outdoors. Being thankful that I have a loving family and are part of a supportive community of people who want to make a difference; people who want to make this world a better place. All the rest is background music. 

 

For me Christmas is also the time to dream of new wild and daring adventures. The small ones just outside my doorstep and the big ones half way around the globe. The ones which are physically demanding and the ones which are an emotional rollercoaster ride. All of them have their place. Dreaming up new adventures is good for the soul. And doing something for your the soul is a bit part what this time of the year is all about - at least for me.

 

But as things go, Christmas is also closely associated with…, yes, presents. With getting things for the people around us. 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. I hope there is something for all off you. (Full disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links. That means that I earn a small commission if you purchase any of these products. This is of no extra costs to you.)

 

So, let’s see what we have!

 

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Appalling treatment of amputees at airport security checks

Going through airport security checks can be a humiliating experience, espeically for people with disabilities (photo by Matthew Henry)
Going through airport security checks can be a humiliating experience, espeically for people with disabilities (photo by Matthew Henry)

Naked In Front Of TSA

I am a passionate traveller. And I have travelled far and wide, often off the beaten track and by local means. As I try to encourage other people with limb differences to go out and explore the world, I regularly share travel tips and travel experiences on my blog. Most of them are inspirational and just provide tested advice. Some of them cover less pleasant experiences to highlight some of the extra challenges people with disabilities face. And today I would like to share a story I recently saw on Linda Olson’s blog. Linda is a very active triple amputee who lost both of her legs and an arm in a train versus car crash in Germany in the early seventies. Linda is not one to give up easily and always tries to make the best of the situation. Even if the situation is degrading and completely unnecessary. Here is her story (which was originally published on Linda's blog in June 2018).

 

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Great videos about amputees

The net is full of great videos about amputees.
The net is full of great videos about amputees.

Inspiration Straight From YouTube

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.

 

 

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Accessible tourism is on the rise

Experienced tour operators that specialize in accessible tourism are key to enabling people with disabilities to travel (picture courtesy of Access2Africa Safaris)
Experienced tour operators that specialize in accessible tourism are key to enabling people with disabilities to travel (picture courtesy of Access2Africa Safaris)

Making The World More Accessible To People With Disabilities

Christmas is approaching quickly. And for many people, Christmas is the time for long holidays in exotic locations all over the globe. Amputees and other people with limb differences are often as keen to travel and explore off-the-beaten track places, meet new people and experience exciting cultures as people without a disability. At the same time, many of us are much worried about the potential challenges we might face. This often means that people with disabilities shy away from visiting the places they dream of.  

 

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.

 

 

Access2Africa Safaris

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Essential hiking gear for active amputees

Hiking poles: In my eyes the most important piece of gear for any active amputee.
Hiking poles: In my eyes the most important piece of gear for any active amputee.

Hiking Poles - The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

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.

 

 

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

An amputee with a mission: Dani is a strong advocate for equality in adaptive surfing (picture copyright by Michael Bresnen, courtesy of Dani Burt)
An amputee with a mission: Dani is a strong advocate for equality in adaptive surfing (picture copyright by Michael Bresnen, courtesy of Dani Burt)

How it all began

In 2004, Dr. Dani Burt was involved in a motorcycle crash that put her in a coma for 45 days. After she woke up, Dani knew her life would never be the same again. She felt lost, confused, hurt and in many ways hopeless. But her life was not over. It took many unexpected turns, opened many new doors and offered her countless amazing opportunities. Today, Dani works as a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Sharp Memorial Hospital, the same hospital where she was a patient of more than a decade ago. A career she chose because she wants to be there for patients after they go through the darkest moments in their life to show them what is possible. Here is an interview with Dani, talking about her road to recovery and the many ways in which she now gives back and supports people who faced life-changing events.

 

 

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Erste Eindrücke vom neuen Genium X3

Möglichst natürlich, schmerzfrei und in allen Lebenslagen auf den Beinen sein zu können - für Jasmin ist das Lebensqualität (picture courtesy of Jasmin Lindenmaier)
Möglichst natürlich, schmerzfrei und in allen Lebenslagen auf den Beinen sein zu können - für Jasmin ist das Lebensqualität (picture courtesy of Jasmin Lindenmaier)

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. 

 

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First impressions of the new Genium X3

To walk naturally, without painless and able to be on your feet all day long and in all situations - that's quality of life for Jasmin (picture courtesy of Jasmin Lindenmaier)
To walk naturally, without painless and able to be on your feet all day long and in all situations - that's quality of life for Jasmin (picture courtesy of Jasmin Lindenmaier)

Tested For You: The 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.

 

 

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Der Alltag von Oberschenkelamputierten: Jasmin und Andreas berichten

Andreas ist gern und viel unterwegs. Daher hat er klare Vorstellungen, was eine Prothese leisten können muss (picture courtesy of Andreas Gröbner)
Andreas ist gern und viel unterwegs. Daher hat er klare Vorstellungen, was eine Prothese leisten können muss (picture courtesy of Andreas Gröbner)

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 Ottobock. 

 

Heute möchte ich euch die beiden kurz vorstellen. Und morgen hören wir dann mehr über ihre Erfahrungen mit dem Kniegelenk.

 

 

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The everyday life of transfemoral amputees: Jasmine and Andreas report

Andreas likes to be on the road a lot. Therefore he has a clear idea of what a prosthesis must be able to do (picture courtesy of Andreas Gröbner).
Andreas likes to be on the road a lot. Therefore he has a clear idea of what a prosthesis must be able to do (picture courtesy of Andreas Gröbner).

In The Starting Blocks, Ready 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.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Seven pillars of inclusion

Easy wins: Building on what unites us (picture courtesy of Incusive Sport Design)
Easy wins: Building on what unites us (picture courtesy of Incusive Sport Design)

Using commonalities as the start point for inclusive sport

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?

 

 

In this post you will learn:

  •  The importance of looking at what is common in addressing inclusion
  • What the 7 Pillars of Inclusion are
  • How to apply the 7 Pillars of Inclusion

 

At the end of the post I will provide some additional resources to help you put things into action.

 

 

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The START Foundation of Australia

The bike ride that kicked it all of (picture courtesy of START Foundation)
The bike ride that kicked it all of (picture courtesy of START Foundation)

Assisting Amputees To Pursue Their Sporting Dreams

The START foundation empowers amputees in life through sport, by providing grants to purchase sports prosthesis or adaptive equipment to help them achieve their sporting dreams.

 

 

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Amputee strongman and power lifter

Moving from adaptive sports to mainstream sports - strongman and power lifter Dan (picture courtesy of Dan Nunnelly)
Moving from adaptive sports to mainstream sports - strongman and power lifter Dan (picture courtesy of Dan Nunnelly)

An Amputee That Constantly Pushes The Limits

Pulling a 45,000lb fire truck isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the hobbies of the people around you. And this thought is even more impressive when the person you are thinking about is an amputee. But that is exactly what Dan Nunnelly from Dallas/Texas did. He is one of the growing number of strongman (men and women) and power lifters who are amputees. Here is his story, which was originally published by yoocan.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - The Invictus Games Sydney 2018

Inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate understanding for those who serve their country in the armed forces (picture by Ariel Pilotto).
Inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate understanding for those who serve their country in the armed forces (picture by Ariel Pilotto).

The Invictus Games Sydney 2018

At the moment, the eyes of many sports interested amputees are focused on Sydney. Between October 20-27, Sydney hosts this year’s Invictus Games, an international adaptive sports event in which wounded, injured or ill armed services personnel and veterans take part in sports.

 

 

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Letting people know what life as an amputee is really like

Engaging with children and youth around disability issues is a rewarding experience
Engaging with children and youth around disability issues is a rewarding experience

Six Practical Ideas To Run Amputee Awareness Sessions In Schools

I have been working on social change for the last 20odd years. Since the late 1990s I have been earning a living as a trainer, consultant and advisor for conflict transformation and peacebuilding projects, mainly 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. I recently had the chance to talk with students about what’s it like to be an amputee. I loved the interaction with the kids, their genuine interest and open-mindedness, their creative ideas and willingness to work towards inclusion. If you are interested to engage with schools, youth clubs and the like, here are some practical ideas to make things easier.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Autumn Special: Enock Glidden Week - part IV

Topping out on El Cap (picture courtesy of Enock Glidden)
Topping out on El Cap (picture courtesy of Enock Glidden)

The Enock Glidden special

As a last post of this mini series, Enock shares what it takes to take on demanding projects and see them through. He talks about community, about gear, about training and preparation – and last but not least about which big adventure is next on his list. Enjoy this last post of the first ever The Active Amputee Special – The Enock Glidden Week.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Autumn Special: Enock Glidden Week - part III

Enock's climb up Astroman was a major group effort, often depending on the kindness of strangers (picture courtesy of Enock Glidden)
Enock's climb up Astroman was a major group effort, often depending on the kindness of strangers (picture courtesy of Enock Glidden)

The Enock Glidden special

Wow, what an unbelievable feat: Climbing Astroman in the Yosemite valley, using fixed ropes and several thousand pull-ups. Today Enock lets us in on his thoughts when coming back from his first trip to California.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Autumn Special: Enock Glidden Week - part II

Enock working his way up El Capitan; one pull-up at the time (picture courtesy of Enock Glidden)
Enock working his way up El Capitan; one pull-up at the time (picture courtesy of Enock Glidden)

The Enock Glidden special

Yesterday - in part one of our Enock Glidden special - Enock mentioned that some years ago he found a new passion in rock climbing. And in October 2016 – two years ago this week – he attempted to climb the most iconic big wall in the world of climbing: Yosemite’s El Capitan. The 3,000 ft wall is a dream for many and attracts climbers from all around the globe. Climbing El Cap is demanding for experienced climbers who are in full control of all their limbs. Tackling the wall as a climber with a limb difference seemed almost impossible. But that didn’t prevent Enock from giving it a go. But see for yourself.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Autumn Special: Enock Glidden Week - part I

Enock - here with Sean O'Neill - is the embodiment of the saying 'Where there is a will, there is a way!' (picture courtesy of Enock Glidden
Enock - here with Sean O'Neill - is the embodiment of the saying 'Where there is a will, there is a way!' (picture courtesy of Enock Glidden

The Enock Glidden special

Starting this fall, there will be several new features on The Active Amputee. One of these new features is a quarterly special. Once every three months there will be one week dedicated to a special person, a special topic, a special challenge. During this week I will publish more than the usual number of posts. I will provide you with additional resources and background information. And hopefully I will motivate you to try out something new and head off to more mindboggling adventures.

 

 

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Amputee podcasts: A wealth of information and inspiration

Ryan Haack's 'Podcasting One-Handed' is only one of a number of great shows for amputees.
Ryan Haack's 'Podcasting One-Handed' is only one of a number of great shows for amputees.

Five Podcasts Every Amputee Should Listen To

Yes! I admit it. I am a huge fan of podcasts. Anything from ‘The History of India’ to ‘Trumpcast’, from ‘The Smart Cities Week’ to ‘Smart Passive Income’, from ‘The Intercept’ to ‘Serial’. But despite my love for podcasts, it’s been only recently that I started listening to podcasts about amputees and others with limb differences. Why did it take me so long? To be honest, I have no idea. Guess it’s been just a matter of never actually searching for one until I stumbled across my first amputee podcasts more or less by coincidence. And that got the ball rolling.

 

To spare all of you a good degree of missing out on something great (without the FOMO effect, I guess), let me share some of the shows which I think you should give a try. My top five, so to speak.

 

So (drum roll please) here we go!

 

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Beyond the clinic room

Sharing about the importance of being active during this year's PACE Rehab conference.
Sharing about the importance of being active during this year's PACE Rehab conference.

Creating A Strong Environment For A Successful Rehabilitation

Last week saw the 8th edition of the annual PACE Rehab conference. This year’s topic was „Beyond the Clinic Room – Outcomes in The Real World“. The conference was all about transforming patients’ lives and enabling them to live an active life. Something that has been close to my heart for years, and a theme that has been the leading light for this blog from the very beginning. As it happened the event fell onto the very day that marks the 13th anniversary of my amputation. So it was a nice surprise to learn that a picture of me and my little one was chosen to head the invitations, the poster and program for the day.

 

 

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A personal style for prosthetic devices

U-Exist decided it's time to bring a fresh approach to the worl or orthopaedic and prosthetic devices (picture courtesy of U-Exist).
U-Exist decided it's time to bring a fresh approach to the worl or orthopaedic and prosthetic devices (picture courtesy of U-Exist).

Enabling People With Disabilities To Make Their Own Choices

As most of you know, I am a strong advocate of bringing a fresh wind with a more personal touch and a wider personal choice to the prosthetic world. Artificial limbs and other prosthetic devices do not need to be skin-coloured boring tools that are designed according to purely practical considerations. So since the start of The Active Amputee I have regularly featured companies that broke new ground, provided prosthetic covers and enabled people with limb differences to develop their personal style and proudly wear their artificial limbs in public. I would like to introduce U-Exist to you, a creative company from France that adds its vision and voice to the ever growing movement of personalized prosthetic devices.

 

Here is my interview with Mrs. Cindy Habchi, responsible for social media within the U-Exist team.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - The disabled entrepreneur

Starting your own business can be demanding, but rewarding option for people with disabilities.
Starting your own business can be demanding, but rewarding option for people with disabilities.

Strategies For Starting A Successful Business Venture When You Have A Disability

Taking the plunge into a new business venture can be daunting in some respects, especially when you have a disability. However, with a couple clever strategies and some handy tools, you can successfully navigate the transition into a new career. Plus, delving into the world of entrepreneurship offers several noteworthy benefits to those who are disabled such as:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Comfortable work environment personalized for your needs
  • Ability to set schedule and pace
  • Independence
  • Continued support via Social Security Disability Insurance

 

If your interest is peaked, here’s how to get started in your pursuit of success!

 

 

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Letting go and being ready for the unexpected

Removing stress by letting go of control and allowing when and how things should happen helped Liz in her recovery  (picture courtesy of Liz Anderson-Peacock)
Removing stress by letting go of control and allowing when and how things should happen helped Liz in her recovery (picture courtesy of Liz Anderson-Peacock)

Limb Loss To Life Gained: Life Beyond Amputation And Becoming More Self-Aware

I am pretty steadfast in my belief that the body is self-organizing and self-healing given the right conditions. Mind you, knowing those conditions is another thing. I had to let go of “why” this was happening and “what else can I do”. Interestingly, when I began to explore the option to amputate, some incredible experiences “appeared” in my life.

 

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