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Recapping Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month (LLLDAM)

By Cass Isidro, President and CEO

Recapping Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month (LLLDAM)

The Amputee Coalition is dedicated to a vision: a world where our community thrives with equity and inclusion and a focused mission to support, educate, and advocate for people impacted by limb loss and limb difference, fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work. From the Board of Directors, staff, and our volunteers, collectively we all continue to uplift the Limb Loss and Limb Difference community, and April serves as a time to reflect and celebrate the powerful movement that has spread globally. The community includes the over 5.6 million people who are living with limb loss and limb difference. This April the #LLLDAM2024 campaign was a huge success, and we want to share with you some highlights.

LLLDAM offers continued opportunities to share journeys of life from our community living with limb loss and limb difference. Throughout the campaign and year, we are dedicated to sharing community stories that include hardship, the authentic and varied experiences and emotions community members faced with amputation, pregnancy of children with limb difference, and other similar journeys through #WeThrive and received 28 new submissions with the #WeThrive blog page being the 2nd most accessed webpage on our website.

LLLDAM grows the awareness of a community that represents over 5.6 million people living with limb loss and limb difference. The campaign offers support and a new entry for those new to the community and continued support throughout everyone’s journey. LLLDAM is truly a time to also educate ourselves, challenge stereotypes, and advocate for equal opportunities for all in the work we do daily. This year we celebrated several landmarks that have been lit up in orange including Niagara Falls, Philadelphia’s City Center, 35W bridge in Minneapolis, and Story Bridge in Brisbane, QLD — all coordinated by local partner organizations and companies. Photos and videos from across the country and around the world were shared and tagged to our social media — with over 640 published posts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, and LinkedIn, our follower count grew by over 750 new followers and over 26000 engagements. From DMs to stories, from photos to reels, we love the content you all create and the ever-growing online community. Watching our community cheer each other on, provide words of encouragement, and often even direct each other to local resources, the conversation is ongoing. Excitingly, Every BODY Can Move legislation was passing in the Maryland state house and senate throughout the month, so we got to share updates in real time! This year’s comprehensive LLLDAM toolkit included a full list of resources ranging from apparel, #WeTHRIVE personal stories, wear orange Wednesday, advocacy, awareness, support groups, patient navigator support, and the campaign wrapped with “Show Your Mettle Day.” 28 states had signed proclamations recognizing April as Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month, tripling last year’s count, marking a significant milestone in the history of proclamations, which was started in 1997.

Throughout April, we spearheaded the promotion of various community engagement initiatives. These ranged from promoting events like the Airport Security Screening Public Forum and Survey, Workforce Development Program and Youth Engagement Program webinar, 2024 Youth Engagement Program (YEP) Youth Camp registration, and National Conference scholarship applications and registration, and even introducing the new virtual Young Adult Support Group. We even participated in significant events such as the annual Easter Egg Roll hosted by the White House with Washington, DC local youth and their families, a live-book reading by the author of The Adventures of Roxy, and the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s Policy Forum for a Coalition-sponsored panel on ‘The Importance of Humanizing Advocacy: Perspective from Community Advocates’ where three of our community members served as panelists to share their self-advocacy journeys. Through collaborative efforts and meaningful engagement, we have continued to amplify our message and advocate increased awareness of people who have limb loss and limb difference. These activities are part of a broader effort to raise awareness and support for individuals living with limb loss or limb difference.

We encourage people to learn more about Limb Loss and Limb Difference, receive free resources ranging from mental health and wellness, workforce development, and so much more, connect with a live resource center specialist, attend our annual national conference, and get connected with peers on AC Connect a platform dedicated to the limb loss and limb different community. For more information, anyone can visit the National Limb Loss Resource Center, call us at 1-888-267-5669 x 1, or reach out via our web form. For more information, visit the Amputee Coalition’s LLLDAM webpage available visit Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month (LLLDAM) – Amputee Coalition (amputee-coalition.org).