“Living is what counts – the leg wasn’t critical after all,” said Tom Coakley as he spoke in 2020 to a group of students about his Vietnam War experience. Tom joined the Army in 1968 and, after his platoon was caught in an enemy ambush, he lost the use of his left arm and became a below-knee amputee. Tom met his wife, Nellie, while recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She was an orthopedics nurse who had also served in Vietnam.
Today, Tom and Nellie are dedicated to helping those with limb loss and limb difference thrive like them. Serving as volunteers and educating groups about the implications of being an amputee has become both of their life’s work in their own unique ways. They embody the mission of the Amputee Coalition – and demonstrate the impact our donors can have making our community stronger every day.
Just like Tom, there are over 2.1 million people in the United States living with limb loss or limb difference. Another 28 million people in our country are at risk for amputation. Every day, more than 500 people in the U.S. lose a limb, and it is estimated that, by 2050, the number of people living with limb loss will nearly double. The Amputee Coalition is the only national nonprofit that serves all individuals who experience limb loss or limb difference.
None of our programs are fully funded by the federal grant we receive. Supporters’ gifts make a significant impact in the much-needed program areas of support, education, advocacy, and prevention. Whether you would like to help us extend the capabilities of the National Limb Loss Resource Center, train more peer visitors, increase the number of support groups we offer, send more kids to Camp, or achieve active community grassroots advocacy in all 50 states, we need your gift to make it possible.
Your generosity ensures that we can best reach the entire limb loss and limb difference community as the premier resource for amputees, their families, and their caregivers.
“I want to use my experience to help others — and I hope you will consider supporting the incredible work the Amputee Coalition does with soldiers like me and all Americans living with limb loss or limb difference.” – Tom Coakley