Was the just-concluded Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month the best one ever?
Maybe it only felt that way, since it’s the first LLLDAM in four years that didn’t have a significant COVID cloud hanging over it. Or maybe it doesn’t even matter. Awareness Month always produces fantastic stories of, by, for, and about the limb-loss community, so it doesn’t make a whit of difference whether or not you’d rate this year’s Awareness Month as the GOAT. Suffice to say that it was an incredibly eventful month—one that went a long way toward teaching the world who amputees really are, and bringing us closer to the goal of normalizing limb loss and limb difference.
All month long, we jotted down little instances that showcased awareness-raising at its finest. They ranged from public achievements to private triumphs, and from broad organizational initiatives to single-person endeavors. We list them here in no particular order—and in the knowledge that they’re only the tip of the iceberg. If you know of other incredible LLLDAM gestures that Amplitude‘s readers should hear about, share the word on our social media channels.
Amy Purdy’s unscheduled amputee-awareness seminar. When a handful of Denver-area teens showed up at RISE Prosthetics to learn about the O&P profession, they got an impromptu, personalized primer in limb loss from one of the world’s most famous amputees.
Anthony Cappelletti’s #LimbLossChallenge. It raised more than $6K (so far) for the nonprofit Less Leg More Heart, while generating excellent footage of fools running around on one leg.
So Kids Can Move’s state-level blitz. This isn’t just one of the best LLLDAM stories of 2023. It’s one of the most consequential limb-loss stories of the 2020s, and it happened because thousands of amputees across the country told their limb-loss truths forcefully—and were heard clearly. The SKCM campaign culminated during LLLDAM with high-impact laws to reform prosthetic insurance in New Mexico, Arkansas, and Colorado; Illinois’ bill is still in the pipeline. Get the full story in Amplitude‘s brand-new print edition.
Chelsea Porter’s spot-on monologue about the emotional burdens of limb difference. We’ve rarely heard a better description of the exhaustion that comes from having to manage other people’s reactions to your limb difference.
Jack Thomas’s star turn on Canada’s Got Talent. Vancouver’s favorite amputee bassist/drummer brought the crowd to its feet and wowed ’em on national TV; see the full performance on YouTube.
Paul Kent’s Prosthesis for Every Limb Initiative. Kent, a bilateral amputee, launched this AI-driven program to ensure that every amputee who wants a prosthesis can get one. If you haven’t opened an account and joined the conversation yet, get started here.
Teenage amputee Owen Mahan’s first pitch at Great American Ballpark. We have to admit, we’re not big fans of the Cincinnati ballclub (our sympathies lie elsewhere in the NL Central). But we’re definitely huuuge fans of this particular Reds partisan. Hum baby, Owen.
Coleen Tidd’s declaration of unconditional love for her son Joseph. I mean, how could you not love that handsome little rascal? But JoJo’s mom poignantly shares some of the emotions that makes it so challenging—and so deeply rewarding—to raise a child with limb difference.
Amputee Blade Runners’ huge fundraising haul. The nonprofit raked in more than $50K to provide 15 lower-limb amputees with running devices.
Billy Davis’s photos and videos of Kenyan amputees. He traveled there with LimbKind Foundation to bring prosthetic limbs, mentorship, and fun to kids and young adults living with limb loss.
Protez Hub’s online training platform for Ukrainian clinicians. In addition to a shortage of prosthetic limbs for its war amputees, Ukraine faces a dire shortage of prosthetists, rehab specialists, and other clinicians with specialized training in limb loss. Two US nonprofits (the Protez Foundation and Prosthetika) teamed up to create an online training platform to help build the future of Ukrainian limb care.
Kent State University’s annual Runway of Dreams fashion show. One of the nation’s top campus-based shows for inclusive fashion scored another triumph while representing people with disabilities at their most stylish and sassy.
@kristinnnnn’s list of 10 things she wishes she could tell her pre-limb-loss self. #3: You will laugh more than you will cry. #7: If the prosthesis you’re provided with doesn’t make your life easier, that’s not a you problem; it’s a them problem. And much more in this vein.
Anthony Michael Lopez’s Broadway debut. He became the second amputee in six months—and only the third in history—to show Broadway audiences that people with limb difference can act, too. And lest there be any doubt about that: Katy Sullivan got a Tony nomination yesterday.
Limb Preservation Foundation’s 2nd annual educational symposium. Experts in osseointegration, mental health, bionics, pain management, myoelectrics, and a score of other limb-loss subjects dispelled some of the myths about limb loss while projecting a message of hope.
Roz @1_bionic_beauty’s ascent of the tallest building in Canada. It’s the CN Tower, if’n you didn’t know—144 floors and 1,776 stairs of ascent on an above-knee prosthesis.
Amputee Coalition’s national PSA series. In these 15- and 30-second video spots, half-dozen high-profile amputees raised the “Inspire to Elevate” theme into the national conversation.
Limb Loss and Preservation Registry’s new partnerships. The LLPR continued to add affiliates during April, accelerating the momentum toward precision O&P data that can yield better treatments, policies, and health outcomes for people facing limb loss.
Kim Gilliam’s moving reunion with her limb-loss anesthesiologist. Nearly seven years after losing all four limbs to sepsis, she had a chance encounter with a doctor who advocated for her on the day of her scheduled amputations.
The US release of “What Happened to You?” James Catchpole’s children’s story was an instant hit when it was released in the UK two years ago. Now it’s available stateside.
The first Ossur/Challenged Athletes Foundation mobility clinic of 2023. It happened in Atlanta at Georgia Tech University, and it was a big hit, judging by the local news footage.
Governor’s proclamations. Every year the goal is to get official LLLDAM proclamations from all 50 states (plus DC and PR). We spent an hour searching for a comprehensive list and couldn’t find one. But we did identify nearly 20 states in which either the governor’s office or state legislature issued a proclamation. If anybody’s got the full tally, let us know!
Amplitude‘s Amputee Community Resource Directory. In its first month, the Amputee Resource Directory shot almost all the way to the top of our most-viewed pages list. And we’re still improving it. Check it out if you haven’t already. [/shameless plug]