Jean Mwale is pushing forward, “putting one prosthetic leg in front of the other.” She has stepped up with determination using her experiences to advocate for others. Recently named an Amputee Coalition Regional Ambassador for the Northeast, she is reaching far beyond that, spreading the word internationally. Jean is a native of the Republic of Zambia and will return next month as a voice of representation to educate and advocate for the limb loss community.
Jean Mwale’s joyful spirit and warm laugh shine through even through all that she has endured and overcome in her life. A two-time cancer survivor years prior, in 2016, Jean ended up in a coma for two weeks due to a septic shock infection. The infection was so severe that it resulted in bilateral below-the-knee amputation and the amputation of four fingertips on one of her hands.
Jean has had an incredible physical and mental journey but found great strength within herself to find happiness and wants to teach others that they, too, can find their happiness. She says that she knows that her purpose is to help others. “You have to care. Start by caring.”
Mwale founded Miracles of Hope to assist the physically disabled and cancer survivors in attaining greater independence through equipment donations and financial support. The organization provides equipment, like wheelchairs and canes, to those in need, locally and in Africa. She is dedicating her life to giving others a fighting chance to have happy and fulfilled lives without having to feel less than others.
She shared that she watched a double amputee from her home country walking on his leg stubs. The image so moved her that she had to try it herself. It was harrowing. It was another point of realization where she understood that her purpose in life was to advocate for others. She wants to be a bridge and a part of the change.
Her mission in Zambia is to spread awareness about issues of the limb loss community. There is a significant deficit in access to health care, especially in rural areas. The impact is vast due to widespread poverty and the lack of prosthetic services and resources. She aims to understand better the breadth and needs of the limb loss population. She plans to meet with the Ministry of Health and share Amputee Coalition information and resources. Ultimately, she hopes to have an audience with the president to discuss issues concerning limb loss in the nation.
In a recent interview with CBS Pittsburgh, she shared that if someone came to her and offered to give her back her legs and take away her battles with cancer, she would say, “thank you… but no, thank you”. The struggles were hard, but what she has learned and the number of people she will be able to help is well worth it.
Jean is writing an autobiography titled I survived it all by Jean Mwale. Her experience has given her a true understanding of how life changes for an amputee. She beams with pride that she can share her story, being a cancer survivor and amputee, as an agent of change.
As an Amputee Coalition Regional Ambassador, she will have the opportunity to meet with legislators, speak at events, mentor Amputee Coalition Lead Advocates, and advocate even more for the limb loss community. We are proud to have Jean as an ally for our community.