Why I Celebrate Limb Loss Awareness Month

April is a special month for me. Not only do the flowers starting to sprout in my garden to make me smile, but the warmer temperatures leave me feeling energized and happier. Even more important than the weather and our garden, April is Limb Loss Awareness Month. This special designation is a time for those impacted by limb loss and limb difference to celebrate their diversity, spotlight their accomplishments and to educate the general community about issues impacting our lives.

According to the Amputee Coalition, there are more than 500 amputations every single day in this country. With nearly two million people living with limb loss/ limb difference in the United States, our community is rich with experiences and diversity. Everybody has a story, and April is our time to celebrate that which is far too often shunned.

While much emphasis of Limb Loss Awareness month has been placed on preventing limb loss, obviously a worthy endeavor, self-acceptance is an issue close to my heart. I will never forget the struggle and the feelings of confusion and isolation I felt after I became an amputee. I was the only one I knew missing a limb, and I felt alone. Despite its pitfalls, the Internet has done a lot to break down the barriers of isolation by allowing amputees to connect and share experiences.

Using social media, this month amputees across the country and around the world are
sharing their limb loss stories. Although every journey is different, our strength lies with our numbers and with our stories. During Limb Loss Awareness Month, the community is united to empower and to educate those who are struggling with limb loss as well as those who may be impacted in the future.

Recognizing the power of the individual story, this year the Amputee Coalition launched the #AmplifyYourself initiative.  Starting in April, those living with limb loss and limb difference are invited to share their stories on a dedicated website (www.amplifyyourself.org).  This database of limb loss and limb difference stories will stand as a testament to the resiliency and the diversity of the community.

I hope you will join me in sharing your story on The Mighty, on social media and with the Amputee Coalition. Who knows, maybe your story will be the one that offers that glimmer of hope to a new amputee, pushing them to persevere and push forward despite setbacks and pain.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Sportpoint.

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