Amputee Coalition 2022 National Conference in Palm Desert, CA was a true delight to see our community itching to get back together in person.
As I walked into the men’s round table session with my notes on what I might convey to these men, I entered trying to find the words to inspire. I left the meeting more uplifted and realized how much I needed to connect with fellow amputees.
I know we all needed a chance to share our issues with others, and that is one reason why all the round tables were so successful. Coupling this with similar feelings of other conference attendees worldwide, I am more fortified in knowing that people who live with amputation can be more resilient because we have endured tough times.
But make no mistake, the past two years have been hard on us. Some have handled it well, and others, well, it has been a struggle.
Recapping the conference and the Youth Camp, the uplift I saw people give to each other at the conference was tremendous. We are a Coalition that elevates and celebrates one another.
The Amputee Coalition is not just an entity that resides in Washington D.C. It is an organism where every amputee and person living with limb difference is part of the evolution.
Our keynote speakers were excellent. John Kriesel, Army war veteran, shared with us how to keep persevering when life is hard.
Jill Jacobs, Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities who serves as an appointee to the Biden Administration and the
Commissioner of the Administration for Community Living grant, commented that the Amputee Coalition does the mission.
Christi Hoehn, the survivor who is getting back to walking as a bilateral lower-limb amputee after 16 years of using her wheelchair for her primary mode of mobility, shared that no matter where you are on your journey, you can always take the next step.
And Stephanie Decker, the mother who saved her children’s lives by using her body as a human shield as their dream home collapsed around them during a tornado in Indiana, challenged us to believe something better can happen and not to accept the current reality.
The clinics were a hit. From golf to gait and from swim to the sanctity of yoga, the community leaned in and learned from first-rate instructors.
Parallel to the conference was the Youth Camp, led by former NFL player and amputee advocate Chris Draft, who lost his wife to cancer. Chris led a team of counselors and speakers and was joined by Paralympic star Ezra Frech (2021 Paralympic Games and 2024 France, 2028 LA Hopeful), who encouraged the campers to dream big and not accept other people’s lowered opinions of their capabilities.
One camper stated he wants to be CEO of the Amputee Coalition. I love it! Now, that is forward planning.
One of the ways we evolve is through innovation. Innovation may be technology, but it can also be how we innovate as people.
In this issue of inMotion, we highlight how our Coalition and community innovate by using a lens fortified from the pandemic to apply new solutions against existing challenges. We feature ways to evolve with our community members’ needs, empower our community to act, embrace new resources, create unique value-adds, and grow our reach to elevate the limb loss and limb difference community.
The articles feature reviews of the 2022 Youth Camp and National Conference. You will also read a feature about Arm Dynamics, learn about the Community Needs Assessment Survey Results, discover ways to adapt travel to your new reality, explore our new Hip Disarticulation Guide, and compilation of our #WeThrive article submissions from the community.
If we can learn to adapt to living with artificial limbs, then we know how to innovate with new ways of doing old tasks.
As we turn our attention to what is next, remember that the Amputee Coalition is all of us.
So, enjoy this issue of inMotion and continue to share.
We must continue to help others in their time of need.
Get involved, stay engaged, and let’s close the gap on reaching the 2.7 million people living with limb loss or limb difference in the United States.
John F. Register, CSP Acting President & CEO Amputee Coalition