Recent Events, Stories, Remind Us of Our Strength
Overcoming challenges, seeking new beginnings, and striving for a better quality of life are life lessons we all will face and, if you are like me, you find many people on your journey who help you elevate to new levels no matter the challenges you face. With the heart to serve the Amputee Coalition, we know our community’s journeys have not been easy, without hardships, but as a community we persevere. We CONQUER! If you have been a part of the Amputee Coalition for any amount of time, you know we love elevating the stories and lives of our community.
One story we recently shared centered on our community member Wafa Lavelle, who continues to be an inspiration through her journey, and how a key moment in her life was attending the Amputee Coalition National Conference. There, for the first time, she found a community of her peers. A community of support, access to new technology, resources, and a Coalition for all. Through the on-site conference, she then found a new prosthetist with Hanger Clinic and finally a good-fitting prosthesis, but the bigger story was her finding another calling as a peer support for others with limb loss or limb difference for the Amputee Coalition. Her story inspires by her action.
The Amputee Coalition has over 700 active Certified Peer Visitors as of 2023, and we will hold 12 Certified Peer Visitor training sessions this year. This program and these sessions give our community the opportunity to provide guidance to those who are lost, confused, or alone. The Certified Peer Visitor program is indicative of “nothing about us without us.” We are currently serving over 100 hospital partners at the Amputee Coalition, with representation in 25 states. We CONQUER!
Our Amputee Coalition community also had a huge legislative victory for our advocacy with So Kids Can Move/So New Mexicans Can Move efforts for equitable insurance coverage for individuals living with limb loss and limb difference in New Mexico. The Senate passed House Bill 131 unanimously, with our Amputee Coalition leadership team, government relations team, and lead advocates rallying for this effort and providing testimony for all four of the committee hearings, showing that we CONQUER together!
In the words of one of our lead advocates, Kyle Stepp, “Together we passed the most comprehensive prosthetic and orthotic coverage bill in the nation that ensures we have insurance fairness for orthotics/prosthetics and creates coverage for orthotics/prosthetics for physical activity in NM!” With our critical community partners, bill sponsors, and The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association that came alongside the Amputee Coalition, we CONQUER! With active legislation in 12 states and this new bill passing in New Mexico, we know our Amputee Coalition organizational mission is lived in action: A world where our community thrives.
After more than 25 years serving in the nonprofit space for powerful missions from disaster response with the American Red Cross to supporting our military and their families at the USO to healthcare reform and support for our kids and schools, and now as president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition, I know that strong, sustainable organizations must have people, partnerships, and passion as their guiding pillars, along with sound business practice to be sure.
Our incredible stories of triumph, local and national efforts, and commitment to no amputee alone remind us of our own strength to CONQUER the challenges we all face. Thank you for being the Amputee Coalition! Stay up to date and get involved with all things Amputee Coalition by visiting www.amputee-coalition.org.
Amputee Coalition President and CEO