Amputee support groups are typically open to everyone whose life has been touched by limb loss. Participants come from every background imaginable, a melting pot of ages, genders, races, and professions. Now that virtual meetings are becoming the norm, support groups even welcome people from disparate geographic locations. At any given meeting, you can interact with amputees who live hundreds or thousands of miles away.
This diversity represents one of the greatest strengths of the limb loss community. But there’s also strength to be drawn from connecting with people who share your experience of limb loss in a particular way.
That’s one of the premises of the Wise Women Parliament. The group offers a welcoming environment for women experiencing limb loss or limb difference, offering emotional and physical support via monthly online meetings, interactive events, podcasts, and educational sessions.
“There are amputee support groups, but no group is dedicated to and caters to women focusing on women’s needs and issues,” the organization’s website states. “We saw a need to connect women outside of the clinical setting to promote residual limb health and overall mental and physical health, [and] to assist with obstacles in daily living. We speak up for women and empower women to share personal experiences about living with limb loss or difference.”
Wise Women was the brainchild of Sara Peterson, a certified prosthetist with academic affiliations at the University of Pittsburgh and the VA hospital system. One of the most prominent women in the profession, Peterson has won top honors as an educator and scored an invitation to the White House’s 2016 “Design for All” showcase for assistive technology. She and fellow board members Jill Marshall and Taavy Miller, who are also prosthetists, bring decades’ worth of combined expertise to the table.