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LOOKING FORWARD: April Means Awareness

Coalition Packs the Calendar With Special Events, Celebrations

At the Amputee Coalition, we have an ambitious agenda for the 14th Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month. We would not have it any other way.

This annual event goes far beyond this special online edition of inMotion Magazine. Our entire team has events, challenges, stories, workshops, and more going on from 12 a.m. April 1 through 11:59 p.m. April 30.

We would like to give you an idea of what to expect.

Our focus is this: By approaching every day with fundamental willpower, our community members champion human strength by persisting and finding ways to thrive. The purpose of our campaign is to inform everyone about the current needs of the limb loss and limb difference community for equitable medical access, care, and coverage.

We conducted a community survey in 2022 that helped us set the framework for the 2023 LLLDAM by establishing these priorities.

  • Ensuring amputees have robust social and community support services
  • Teaching people about limb loss and limb difference to improve access to care and quality of life
  • Providing resources to the broader community to understand how to prevent limb loss
  • Increasing engagement with community leaders, particularly in underserved communities, to provide effective support and promote health equity

Here’s how we are getting the word out.

  • A national television public service announcement campaign (read more in this edition)
  • Social media campaigns and viral challenges
  • Fundraising and ambassador campaigns
  • A Virtual Advocacy Forum and awareness events (read more in this edition)
  • Partnerships with related organizations

You can become involved in myriad ways. You can start by searching your closets and drawers (or going to the Amputee Coalition store) for something orange to wear on Wednesdays. That is just one of the daily dares we have set out for the month.

Others include posting meaningful images on social media with our hashtags (#InspiretoElevate, #LLAM, #LLLDAM, #WeTHRIVE, and #NoAmputeeAlone); dropping off our communications toolkit and awareness ribbons at your doctor’s, physical therapist’s, or prosthetist’s office; and creating your own fundraiser with help from our kit.

Also on social media, throughout the month, you can watch video testimonials from members of our community who describe their experiences and highlight the significance of Awareness Month.

Speaking of personal stories, we hope you will participate in our #WeTHRIVE campaign. Abiodun Soniran of Nigeria recently did that, sharing this message of persistence: “As it is now, I am gradually back on my feet with the help of a locally made prosthesis. I am winning back my strength. I can do my daily activities without aids. … I am winning over my situation.”

We will also bring you resonant stories of people in our community and people who support our cause throughout the month on the THRIVE blog. One of those belongs to Melinda Preciado, the reigning Miss Wheelchair Oregon America and Miss Wheelchair Oregon USA.

She uses her platform to advocate for people with visible and invisible disabilities, with a special interest in accessibility in public spaces.

“My advocacy work definitely has replaced and given me the fulfillment of helping people that I had previously with 17 years in healthcare,” Melinda said. “Now I can make a difference in so many other ways besides just hands-on care in the ER. I think advocating for others is just as important as saving lives.”

Don’t forget about AC Connect. Raising awareness is a visible aspect of this online community that launched in March. Here is a great example of how to get a conversation started from a post by a community member, Jeffrey, that led to responses and connections:

“Morning, all. I’m a new right [below-knee amputee]. I’ve been reading for several months now, this being the first time I’ve actually participated in the conversation. I’m sure many of us are scared. I know I was. How’s life going to be now? No fortune teller here. Same boat, different circumstances. I’d love to be able to share my future with all of you. Let’s talk.”

We have worked with our partner Ailm Medical to conduct a two-part webinar, “What Now? Social Media Has Changed Once Again!” The first part is planned for April 13 and the second for April 27.

You can read about our Workforce Development Program designed to help youth, adults, and veterans with starting or returning to employment in this special edition.

Other items on the agenda for the peer support team include promoting more than 100 hospital partnerships and a 50-state initiative focused on underserved communities; working on the creation of a Black, Indigenous, and people of color support group, and the orange ribbon campaign.

The National Limb Loss Resource Center has new resources and new videos. The team is eager to introduce our patient navigators, a new role for the Amputee Coalition.

The Youth Engagement Program just started a podcast called YEP We Can, which will be featured in the May-June edition of inMotion. We also are preparing for Youth Camp in conjunction with the Amputee Coalition National Conference this summer.

Our executive team will be involved with many of these initiatives and will be visible throughout the month.

So, whatever your other plans for April, set aside time to join us in celebrating Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month.