Getting out there and being active

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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Whole: A leg up on life

Kendra with a copy of her biography 'WHOLE: A Leg Up On Life' (picture courtesy of Kendra Herber)
Kendra with a copy of her biography 'WHOLE: A Leg Up On Life' (picture courtesy of Kendra Herber)

I Am Proud To Be Who I am!

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.

 

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ID ETHNOS and its amazing prosthetic covers

Making prosthetic covers affordable is the aim of a joint venture between ID Ethnos and FURF Design Studios (photo courtesy of ID Ethnos)
Making prosthetic covers affordable is the aim of a joint venture between ID Ethnos and FURF Design Studios (photo courtesy of ID Ethnos)

Covers Are A Great Way To Personalise Your Prosthesis

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. 

 

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Sitting volleyball: Action for team-players

Sitting volleyball: It's fast, it demands a high level of fitness and ball handling skills, and it can be played in mixed disabled/non-disabled teams.
Sitting volleyball: It's fast, it demands a high level of fitness and ball handling skills, and it can be played in mixed disabled/non-disabled teams.

A Fast And Action-Packed Sport For People With Lower Limb Difficulties

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. 

 

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Remembering Patrice Méaume

Five pictures and Me: Patrice with his golden hand made by an artist (very proud to have it as there is only one of its kind in the world) (picture courtesy of Patrice Meaume)
Five pictures and Me: Patrice with his golden hand made by an artist (very proud to have it as there is only one of its kind in the world) (picture courtesy of Patrice Meaume)

Remembering Patrice, Graphic Artist With A Golden Hand

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. 

 

 

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What does inspirational actually mean?

Anoushé explores what it means to be inspirational (picture by Sana Murad, courtesy of Anoushe Husain).
Anoushé explores what it means to be inspirational (picture by Sana Murad, courtesy of Anoushe Husain).

Are People With Disabilities Truly Inspirational?

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.  

 

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Enjoying the great outdoors as an amputee

Surrounded by stunning scenery - Angelina in the outdoors (picture courtesy of Nick Martinson from Boundless Journey)
Surrounded by stunning scenery - Angelina in the outdoors (picture courtesy of Nick Martinson from Boundless Journey)

I Can Do Anything I Set My Mind To

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. 

 

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Personal tips to deal with stump pain

Joanna Waterton (left) during the 2016 BMC Paraclimbing Series in Newcastle
Joanna Waterton (left) during the 2016 BMC Paraclimbing Series in Newcastle

You Need To Find Your Own Way To Deal With Stump Pain

Joanna describes her very own ways of dealing with stump pain. Chemical painkillers are only a last resort. 

 

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Hands-on travel advice for people with limb differences

Aurélie enjoying the amazing scenery near Glenorchy, a small town on New Zealand's south island (picture courtesy of Aurélie Loaec)
Aurélie enjoying the amazing scenery near Glenorchy, a small town on New Zealand's south island (picture courtesy of Aurélie Loaec)

Aurélie, The Wheelchair Using Globetrotter

"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. 

 

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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

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.

 

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Born out of personal experience: The IREDE Foundation of Nigeria

The daughter of Crystal Chigbu, the founder of the IREDE Foundation enjoying her new prosthesis (picture courtesy of Crystal Chigbu)
The daughter of Crystal Chigbu, the founder of the IREDE Foundation enjoying her new prosthesis (picture courtesy of Crystal Chigbu)

Creating A Badly Needed New Service

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.

 

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Five Instagram accounts to follow in 2020

One of the Instagram accounts to follow in 2020: kcrs.prosthesis from Alba Cáceres (picture courtesy of Alba Cáceres)
One of the Instagram accounts to follow in 2020: kcrs.prosthesis from Alba Cáceres (picture courtesy of Alba Cáceres)

Plenty Of Inspiration, Brimming With Information And A Joy To Follow

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.

 

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Prothesengemeinschaft - A new community in Germany

A promising-looking new resource for the German-speaking amputee community.
A promising-looking new resource for the German-speaking amputee community.

A Lively Community, A New App, An Interesting Podcast

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.

 

 

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Five pictures and me - Andrew Gregory

Five pictures and Me: Andrew, amputee pole dancer and current world champion (picture by @knockingbirdcreative courtesy of Andrew Gregory).
Five pictures and Me: Andrew, amputee pole dancer and current world champion (picture by @knockingbirdcreative courtesy of Andrew Gregory).

My Life As An Amputee In Five Pictures

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.

 

 

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Testing the OttoBock 3R80 Knee

Finding the right prosthetic device for you and your life style can be a daunting process.
Finding the right prosthetic device for you and your life style can be a daunting process.

Time For A New Knee - But Which One?

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.

 

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Travel tips for people with limb differences

The right preparation can take out a lot of stress and make your journeys much more enjoyable.
The right preparation can take out a lot of stress and make your journeys much more enjoyable.

The Globetrotting Microprocessor Knee

I just came back from Nigeria. Another destination that is not often visited and normally doesn’t make it into the top ten of go-to places of fellow globetrotters or the travel trends of the year recommendations of the leading guide books. But visiting these far-flung places has its own charm. And brings its own rewards.

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Attempting to break a world record

Off to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa  (picture by Manon Ouimet courtesy of Rebecca Lego)
Off to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa (picture by Manon Ouimet courtesy of Rebecca Lego)

Fellow Amputees Damian Harper And Rebecca Legon To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest, and the world’s tallest, freestanding mountain. It is crowned with an everlasting snow-cap. The landscape is extreme with uneven, uphill terrain and an unpredictable weather system. It is not for the faint-hearted. Up to 50% of climbers suffer from altitude sickness. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or “Kili” to those who have dared it, is an incredible achievement for the able-bodied. For Damian Harper and Rebecca Legon, this is a monstrously courageous challenge. But it is not the first that these two inspiring amputees have faced during their lives.  

 

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Supporting research to inform policy and practice

A passion for improved prosthetics  (picture courtesy of Daisy Luo)
A passion for improved prosthetics (picture courtesy of Daisy Luo)

Your Chance To Get Involved

I am a great fan of evidence-based action. No matter if you are trying to influence policies affecting the lives of people with disabilities or if you want to push research and development efforts for better prosthetic equipment - it all depends on sound data and reliable information. So every once in a while I team up with researchers, academic institutions, campaigners and representatives from the industry and support their research initiatives to inform future policy and improve current practice. Today I would like to invite you to participate in the ‚Physical Activity and Adaptive Sports Equipment for Assessment in Quality of Life in Amputees’ research project by Daicy Luo.

 

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An unusually long summer break

Saying goodbye in style: My last walk up Sugarloaf Hill near Abergavenny.
Saying goodbye in style: My last walk up Sugarloaf Hill near Abergavenny.

I Owe You An Apology

Mea culpa. The Active Amputee has been hibernating. It’s been ten weeks since the last article went live. That feels like a long long time in which this page has been dormant. Similarly my social media accounts have been rather unimpressive (read hardly any new postings and long delays in responding to your questions). And some of you asked me if The Active Amputee had closed it doors and feel silent for good.

 

The answer is: No! The Active Amputee is still alive and kicking. And from next week onwards I hope to be back to my original schedule of two posts per week, to regular updates on Instagram and co and to one new podcast episode each month.

 

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Five pictures and me - Caroline Mohr

Five pictures and Me: ESPN once wrote that if the story of Caroline life in 2011 were a film, you might exit the movie theater scratching your head, mumbling about far-fetched plots. (picture courtesy of Caroline Mohr)
Five pictures and Me: ESPN once wrote that if the story of Caroline life in 2011 were a film, you might exit the movie theater scratching your head, mumbling about far-fetched plots. (picture courtesy of Caroline Mohr)

My Life As An Amputee In Five Pictures

In our series "Five Pictures and Me" people with amputation introduce themselves by sharing their favorite pictures with us. Today: Caroline Mohr - an amputee on a mission is to awake others to their true light of their soul. Caroline is a speaker, coach, former Golfpro, yogi, schoolsponsor in South Africa and so much more.

 

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - New podcast

Now up on iTunes, Spotify and co - The Active Amputee Podcast
Now up on iTunes, Spotify and co - The Active Amputee Podcast

A New Resource For Amputees

Finally! The Active Amputee Podcast is finally up and running. This new monthly show from amputees for amputees is now available on iTunes, Spotify and or where ever you listen to your favorite podcasts. The first three episodes are already available now while more are in the making and will be aired over the coming months.

 

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Choosing the right prosthetic device for you

Finding the right prosthetic device for you and your life style can be a daunting process.
Finding the right prosthetic device for you and your life style can be a daunting process.

Making Informed Decisions Is Key To An Active Lifestyle

Most lower limb 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 and 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 to go about 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…

 

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Kayaking as an amputee

In a kayak being an above knee amputee is not much of an issue.
In a kayak being an above knee amputee is not much of an issue.

Some Tips To Getting In Kayaking

Summer is here. And with it come 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.

 

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Life hack: Dealing with volume fluctuations in your residual limb

A common challenge for all amputees: Ensuring a snug fit of the prosthetic socket when being physically active.
A common challenge for all amputees: Ensuring a snug fit of the prosthetic socket when being physically active.

A Well-Fitting Socket Is The Key To An Adventurous Lifestyle

Here is a problem many active above knee amputees know all too well. A problem that is often overlooked as more and more attention is given to the newest developments around high-tech knees and other exciting advancements in the prosthetic sector. It’s the problem of a proper fit of the socket. It’s the key to using your prosthetic leg to its full potential. And how to deal with fluctuations in the volume of your residual limb - and thus with the fit of your socket.

 

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Diego the little soldier

Diego dreams of becoming a soldier, just like his dad (picture courtesy of Jason Mercado).
Diego dreams of becoming a soldier, just like his dad (picture courtesy of Jason Mercado).

Every Warrior Matters

In the cooperation with yoocan, I regularly share inspiring stories from people with limb differences that have originally been published on the yoocan page. Today I want to share the story of Diego Mercado. Diego Mercado was born as a congenital Amputee with the absence of his right Tibia and a deformation of his right hand. However, this has never stopped him from being an average kid with above average dreams. Diego always wanted to be a soldier, just like his Father Jason who has served in the US Army all of Diego's life. "The challenges were probably more difficult for us as parents because we were always compelled to run to our baby whenever he stumbled and fell. It was heartbreaking watching all of the other kids stare or point at him.“ said Jason. But every time he fell, he learned how to get up and eventually he learned how to be proud of his limb difference. This article has originally been published by yoocan.

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Five pictures and me - Erin Ball

Five pictures and me: Erin, the double amputee circus artist, here during the first duo trapeze show of LEGacy Circus (picture by Tim Miller, courtesy of Erin Ball).
Five pictures and me: Erin, the double amputee circus artist, here during the first duo trapeze show of LEGacy Circus (picture by Tim Miller, courtesy of Erin Ball).

A Passion For The Circus

Losing both legs is a major challenge for any person. Even more so when you are a circus artist. Erin Ball struggled hard until embracing her new reality led to a fireworks of creativity. Her amputations are now an integral part of her show. And through her teaching and coaching Erin has opened up the circus world for many others with disabilities. Read her full story here. And get to know more about Erin through this month's edition of 'Five Pictures and Me'. 

 

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Over the waves of uncertainty - Becoming an amputee

Living mindfully and with a purpose - one step at a time (picture courtesy of Steven Medeiros).
Living mindfully and with a purpose - one step at a time (picture courtesy of Steven Medeiros).

A Moment, A Story, A Life Forever Changed

The medic shouts, “we’ll be landing shortly” or at least that is what I thought he said - his words muffled by the roaring of the helicopter propellers. The twenty-five mile flight to San Francisco with the uncertainty of death was all consuming. This uncertainty while confined to my hospital bed forced me to analyze my life up until that point. Had I been living up to my potential? If given a second chance what would I do differently? Often times with tragedy as such one may come to a cross road, either by taking the route of self-pity and giving up or realizing all the opportunities a second chance on life can afford, and using that as the fuel to move forward and do something great. For me self-pity was never an option.

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Riding a kick scooter as an amputee

Riding a kick scooter as an amputee involves a lot of try and error.
Riding a kick scooter as an amputee involves a lot of try and error.

Kick Scooter: Three Lessons Learned So Far

As mentioned in an earlier post, I recently started riding a kick scooter. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary kids' scooter I found when de-cluttering out garden shed. Fortunately my - often clumsy - attempts to master the art of riding a scooter coincided with the period in which I am testing the OttoBock Genius X3. This gives me the opportunity to use various pre-programmed modes for the knee and see which one works best for me in a variety of different terrains. And while I haven’t spent a lot of time on the scooter yet, it’s time for sharing some of my initial lessons.

 

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People with disabilities around the world are killing it

Vasu Sojitra, professional athlete
Vasu Sojitra, professional athlete

Being Different Is The New Normal

Identify your next goal, think about possible ways to get there, break them down into doable chunks and just give it a go. Strongly believe that you can do it. Forget about norms and expectations, about the so-called normal. Be proud of your difference as it’s these differences that make this world such a colourful and awesome place. And you will see: A door opens to a completely new world way beyond your wildest imaginations. 

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Kick scooter

Re-discovering the joy of riding a kick bike.
Re-discovering the joy of riding a kick bike.

I love it, I love it, I love it!

A new month. And with this new month there is another opportunity to start something new. Something that has been on my mind for quite a long time. And something that I enjoyed as a kid. Riding a kick bike. Yes, this simple two-wheeler that promises fun and action in abundance.

 

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The beginning of my amputee journey

I knew I was lucky to be alive (picture courtesy of Kristina DeJesus)
I knew I was lucky to be alive (picture courtesy of Kristina DeJesus)

Reflecting On My First Year As An Amputee

In the cooperation with yoocan, I regularly share inspiring stories from people with limb differences that have originally been published on the yoocan page. Today we hear from Kristina who lost her arm in a boating accident. One year on from her amputation she reflects about the initial twelve months of her journey. This article has originally been published by yoocan.

 

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Preparing for the next big amputee outdoor adventure

Quality time out in the hills: Father and Son amputee outdoor adventures.
Quality time out in the hills: Father and Son amputee outdoor adventures.

Micro Adventures Out In The Wild

The days are getting longer, the nights less chilly and nature is in transformation. Fresh green grass covers the hills, the shrubs and trees have started to blossom and with a few days off over Easter this sounds like the perfect opportunity to head back into the hills. This time with my little son, who has been asking for weeks when we would finally take our tent out into the wild. „Well, Jonah, Easter it is and we are off for a few nights out in the tent!“

 

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The Active Amputee Weekend Edition - Myo Plus

The combination of Myo Plus pattern recognition and the bebionic hand prosthesis even enables users to work on a computer (picture courtesy of OttoBock).
The combination of Myo Plus pattern recognition and the bebionic hand prosthesis even enables users to work on a computer (picture courtesy of OttoBock).

The Challenges Of Copying Natural Movements

I plead guilty. The articles on The Active Amputee are very much focussed on lower limb amputations. The reasons being are simple. First and foremost, I write most of the posts. And I am an above knee amputee. Second, most other amputees I personally know and try to chat into contributing something to the blog are lower limb amputees, too. And last but nor least, generally speaking there are many more lower limb amputees in the wider society than upper limb amputees. Exact numbers are hard to get, but let’s take Germany for example. According to a recent press release by OttoBock there are about 250 arm amputations in Germany per year. In the same time we see about 18,000 amputations of lower limbs (both above knee and below knee amputations). This is not meant to be an excuse that there is so little information for people with differences in their upper limbs on The Active Amputee. But I hope it sheds some light on the ‚Why?‘. And I am working on this. So let me start right here and now as there are exciting developments in this regard in the prosthetic sector.

 

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Five pictures and me - Patrice Meaume

Five pictures and Me: Patrice with his golden hand made by an artist (very proud to have it as there is only one of its kind in the world) (picture courtesy of Patrice Meaume)
Five pictures and Me: Patrice with his golden hand made by an artist (very proud to have it as there is only one of its kind in the world) (picture courtesy of Patrice Meaume)

Patrice, Graphic Artist With A Golden Hand

I was born different, without my right hand. And I am thankful for my family and friends who know that I'm someone normal who just has one hand. I'm lucky. Throughout my life I quickly realized that having only one hand raises questions and provokes dialogue. My career in communication, I'm art director, has allowed me to see that often people with disabilities were represented in extremes: I.e. situations of dependency, illness or on the contrary with exceptional accomplishments. 

 

So I've decided to launch a series of illustrations representing people with disabilities living normally, defending my pro-active and optimistic vision of disability: People with disabilities are different, but it's normal to be different!

 

I recently started another important activity; i.e. the normal-persons.com clothing line dedicated to physically different people. With a bit of provocation and humor. Claiming back the body we have. So let's be proud to be who we are, let’s be proud to be how we were born.

 

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

Volunteering with CoRSU: A rewarding experience while sharing your experiences (picture courtesy of CoRSU)
Volunteering with CoRSU: A rewarding experience while sharing your experiences (picture courtesy of CoRSU)

My Life's Journey Let Me To Uganda

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.

 

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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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