Members Meeting and Talking on AC Connect
We know you are strong.
We know you are passionate.
We know you CONQUER obstacles that many people never encounter.
But still you have the capacity to surprise us.
That’s what happened on March 1, when the Amputee Coalition launched AC Connect, our networking and professional community for everyone with limb loss and limb difference, their caregivers, providers, and anyone else who wants to be involved.
And you showed us you want to be involved.
Within a week of launch, there were 212 active users and 315 discussion posts on AC Connect. Those numbers are only growing by the day . And it is an international audience. People from the U.S., Australia, Canada, and elsewhere are meeting and talking.
People are sharing their stories, finding and giving advice, connecting one to one, learning. They are doing the things we hoped they would when we conceived of AC Connect.
One member from Ontario shared their story and sparked conversation.
“ … it’s attitude, not disability, that charts your life after a traumatic accident. I lost both legs above the knee in an accident, 49 years ago when I was 30, while waiting to cross a highway to help at an accident in the highway median. I spent five months in the hospital, during which time I received my prostheses and went back to my previous job, which required a fair amount of travel both domestic and international. I didn’t let my prosthetics stop me, walking with two canes and after 20 years started to rely on a wheelchair when visiting job sites. I progressed in my profession to a national manager in a large retail department store. I was married with two children and have been retired now for 20 years. Two years ago I lost my wife, and I’m now living in a retirement residence, primarily using a wheelchair and for outdoor adventures a mobility scooter. I’m active in our residence and took up billiards after many years of not playing, playing cards, and touring the lakeshore and the town that I live in on my scooter. I still drive with hand controls and keep active. It’s not what you lost … it’s what you have left that counts.”
And that prompted this response from another member in New York.
“I don’t want a pat on the back. I don’t even want to give my name. I just want to share a story. I lost a leg AK at age 19 in a car accident . I almost lost both. I had just finished my sophomore year in college. I spent three months in hospital. I got out, went back to school on crutches (waiting for a leg). Finished college, got married, had a child. I became a teacher for 25 years, and then a principal for eight more and had two more kids. How? I just never let the amputation get me down. Why? I was alive and living my life. So, no matter what, just keep moving ahead with nothing but positive thoughts.”
Those two entries were posted in the Advocacy Community, which was the most active discussion board when AC Connect launched.
As you might imagine, discussions covered a range of topics there. There were threads about handicap-accessible electric vehicles, phantom limb pain , the Americans With Disabilities Act, and four-wheeling.
The National Conference is another active community. A member from Texas posted about their experience.
“National Conference has made a big difference in my life. I attended my first one in Kansas City-2010? I met so many incredible people, was inspired and encouraged. I learned from experience I could do so much more than I thought I could do-that life was not over-just different-and I could adapt, change, and be transformed as a human being as a result of those differences and live my life to the fullest. The one thing I get most encouraged by every year I go to conference-regardless of location, travel troubles, and other quirks that go into something that big-the one encouragement that never changes is the boundless resiliency of our community-the passion and diligence to thrive. It’s loud and clear every year! When my own resiliency is low and I’m discouraged and disappointed in the current quality of my living, all I have to do is think of my friends and like them-like us all-begin again …”
The conversation goes beyond sharing personal stories. One member was looking for somebody to share costs at N ational Conference by getting a room together. Another wanted to know if there was a place to park their RV nearby during the conference.
In other words, the conversation is going wherever you take it. AC Connect is all about you. It is your place to continuously learn, develop a sense of belonging, and gain exposure.
Join us. If you have joined already, spread the word
For more information about our Certified Peer Visitor (CPV) Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.