Gear up for the Amputee Coalition National Conference
By Jerrica Thurman, Chief Strategy & Communications Officer
The countdown has begun for the Amputee Coalition National Conference. The premier event for the limb loss and limb difference community is just a couple of months away.
Summer in Florida hardly seems congruous with snowboarding, but that’s OK. Amy Purdy and Mike Schultz are indeed outstanding snowboarders, but they will bring much more with them to the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld Hotel® from Aug. 2-5.
The two will deliver keynote addresses during the conference.
You might have seen Purdy on TV in “Dancing With the Stars.” She and partner Derek Hough finished second in 2014. Or perhaps it was on “The Amazing Race” when she and her future husband, Daniel Gale, teamed up.
She has been in a Super Bowl commercial and a Madonna video, and her book has been a New York Times bestseller. Amy and Daniel founded Adaptive Action Sports to train athletes who have disabilities.
And, of course, Amy is a two-time Paralympic medalist in snowboarding.
“When disease took my legs, I eventually realized I don’t need them to live a full, empowering life,” said Amy, who is a double amputee. “Only true disability is in our mind.”
“Monster” Mike Schultz owns many of the same credentials.
Multiple Paralympic snowboarding medals. Successful adaptive sports business. Highly motivating memoir.
In speaking engagements, according to his website, “Mike will share his journey through experiences about resiliency after injury, chasing down goals, and how to get the best performance out of yourself by embracing the challenge. While overcoming his own personal challenges is a huge part of Mike’s story, helping others live life to the fullest is the other part of the story.”
The keynote speakers are not the only attractions coming to the National Conference, where the theme will be “Elevate: Together Towards Tomorrow.” We will highlight ways to build what’s next for the limb loss and limb difference community to ensure a world where our community thrives as it chooses.
With several new offerings this year, from pre-event and opening day activities, a job fair, and a medical concierge to unique experiences tailored to first-time attendees, this year’s conference will be like none other. Innovative clinics, interactive educational sessions, and dynamic storytelling will create a fresh perspective for new and returning participants. The signature dance gala will also provide a magical night “Under the Sea” filled with fun, food, and entertainment.
This year’s conference will empower attendees to rediscover their love of themselves, their community, and the Amputee Coalition. It will instill pride in belonging to the limb loss and limb difference community and inspire participants to take an active role in elevating our community to the next level. The sense of community, learning, and networking continue to be the three primary reasons participants attend the conference. In fact, 61% of last year’s attendees rated the sense of community as the most important aspect of the conference, and 51% rated the discovery of new products and devices as the second most important. Moreover, 88.5% of attendees reported being satisfied with or very satisfied with the conference.
As we continue to elevate, the conference sessions will highlight trending issues facing the limb loss and limb difference community, which center on access, care, insurance coverage, and employment. The Amputee Coalition advocates for services and policies to meet these challenges.
Presenting sessions follow four educational tracks: Love Yourself (self-advocacy) Love Living (health and wellness); Love the Community (community living); and Love Career Growth (career path engagement). Together, these tracks recognize that physical, emotional, mental, behavioral, and financial health services are more important now than ever.
Beyond the keynote sessions, there will be deeper dives, breakouts, and fireside chats, community popups and roundtables. You can hear from experts and also learn from audience members in formal and informal settings.
The exhibit hall, which this year will be in the Oceans Ballroom at Renaissance Orlando, is always a favorite space and will feature a product theater.
This is where attendees can meet and talk with the companies and organizations that provide services and products for people with limb loss or limb difference. Exhibitors come from manufacturers of prosthetic devices and sockets, researchers, adaptive recreation groups, and more.
You won’t want to miss all the excitement at this year’s conference, so secure your spot today! To register, visit https://www.amputee-coalition.org/events-programs/national-conference. Follow the latest event updates on social media using #ACNC23.