How did Amp Life Talk Radio begin?
Harrison: The seed was planted in 2012 the day I was hit from behind on my motorcycle by a car on the freeway. I remember how it was for me dealing with my accident and making the decision to have my right foot amputated and go with a prosthesis instead of living with a mangled foot. I could not have made that decision without the support of Matthew Garibaldi, who visited me in the hospital and talked to me about prosthetics, of which I knew nothing. I remember him asking me, “What do you want to do?” I said, “Walk. I just want to walk.” He replied, “You’re easy. We have people who run, rock climb, snowboard, and surf with prosthetics.” It was then that I made my decision.
Matthew provided emotional support throughout the process. The staff at the University of California, San Francisco, also introduced me to several patients who shared their amazing stories with me or allowed me to share mine with them.
In 2015, I started working at Norell Prosthetics & Orthotics, which is now Synergy Prosthetics, headquartered in San Diego, California. While there, I saw a major need for peer support in the Central Valley and surrounding areas. I was told that support groups in the area had failed because of various issues, such as lack of transportation. My friends in the radio and music industry all have podcasts, which made me think. I realized that through a podcast, I could reach people anywhere. Although my first season was all about learning, I still managed to complete 35 episodes with some amazing guests.
What are your goals for the program and some of your main accomplishments?
Harrison: As an amputee peer visitor since 2014, I volunteered to help run a peer support group with another amputee. The meetings mostly consisted of sharing experiences, talking about helpful products, and helping new amputees deal with limb loss. I would also get requests to speak with or visit new amputees.
Amp Life Talk Radio is largely about linking amputees and their families before or after amputation with me—a certified trained amputee peer visitor who has experience living with and adapting to limb loss and can provide a unique perspective on the various things amputees face. The podcast also provides a platform for discussing important topics and issues involving prosthetics, healthcare, insurance, new technology, medical procedures, diabetes, infections, etc.
To provide our listeners with valuable expert information, I have invited orthopedic doctors and others to be co-hosts on the show. Our new co-host, Dave Ganas, also known as “The One-legged Spartan,” will be providing information about fitness, indoor and outdoor activities, and adventures that get amputees out and active.
I say “No amputee is alone” at the beginning of every show, and we work to ensure that no amputee feels alone through pre- and post-amputation and recovery. We help provide access to peer support for amputees in more than 15 countries without amputees having to leave the privacy of their homes.
How can others get involved?
Harrison: I would love to take the show to the next level, which will require sponsors. If you would like to be a sponsor, please contact me. Amp Life Talk Radio would not be anything without you, the listener, and I want to hear from you. If you have a story, a product, a program, a service, or information to share, please contact me at [email protected].