A lot of buzz has been created lately since the Limb Loss Community recently celebrated their awareness month this past April.
For years, the limb loss community has been organizing across the country in order to raise awareness and increase practices to prevent limb loss and to educate those who are living with it, how to overcome some of the challenges they might face as someone who is missing a limb.
Specifically, The National Amputte Coalition has been working to ensure no amputee feels alone. Through a variety of educational programs, advocacy workshops, and awareness campaigns, the coalition has been inspiring and training thousands of leaders across the country to help out and contribute to this important cause.
Benjamin Franklin once said “out of adversity comes opportunity”, and Troy Malone never thought he would become an example of it. Malone, a native of Illinois, is the co-founder of “Ampu wear Clothing Company Inc.”, a clothing brand aimed at making life easier for the amputee community and to serve as an inspiration not only for those who have lost a limb, but for all trauma survivors and citizens who are looking to get involved and help out.
Troy Malone’s life changed dramatically in just a blink of an eye while walking near a semi-automaric truck while at work in 2014. The driver of the truck released the brakes and it started rolling forward, and then ran up the back of Troy’s leg. That moment was enough to change his life forever and test his strength and willingness to move forward.
Troy went through more than 25 surgeries as doctors tried to save his leg but sadly he lost part of his right leg.
“I was determined not to let this tragedy alter my life”, he said to us. That determination was the key to get over this tragedy and it become part of the values of the company that he recently created. Along with his co-founding partner, Paul D. Jones, they founded Ampu Wear in order to make a real difference within the loss limb community.
“It was hard to find clothes that’s adapted to the prostethic that we wear. So I needed to be able to get to my leg without pulling my pants all the way down. I had to kind of come up with the idea for myself to make my clothes adaptive for me,” says Malone.
Jones adds that’s really how a great things happen: “You spot a problem and you find a solution”.
As members of the Amputee Coalition, these entrepreneurs recently used the month of April to partner with other fellow amputees, trauma survivors, and key influencers to raise awareness, educational resources, and financial assistance for the amputee community during Limb Loss Awareness Month.
“Ampu Wear Clothing Company is a lifestyle movement. Our slogan is “Living Amp’d Up!” it means that you will not let your life be determined by any setbacks. Not only are you going to live your life, but you are now going to live it Amp’d up!”, Malone explains.
The Limb Loss movement is now growing and is organized to raise awareness of how important it is to ensure the equal access to care for the amputee community.
“When paperwork requirements add up to more than the weight of a prosthesis, we need to work for change. Helping people become more independent pays off for everyone,” says Karen Lundquist, Chief Communication Officer of Amputee Coalition.
“From Connecticut to California, people with limb loss are rallying to demand equal access to care. Limbs are not a luxury, and empowering people to live independently benefits all of us (…) We’re working to put faces and voices on the limb loss community, building understanding that without prosthetic care we are limiting lives in profound ways”, Lundquist says.
There are many inspiring experiences of the struggle led by the Amputee Coalition and the entire Limb Loss Community in defense of the rights of amputees. Such is the case of LuAnn Kleemeyer (60), who lost her right leg in a tragic motorcycle accident. In 2015, a draft – Local Coverage Determination on Lower Limb Prostheses- would have fundamentally changed her ability to live the life she now lives. The proposed LCD lacked clinical and scientific evidence and as a result the limb loss community rallied to fight it.
In just 10 days, over 110,000 signatures were posted to a White House petition- calling for the LCD to be rescinded, thousands of letters were sent to members of Congress, and a packed public hearing was held. As a result of the push back, the Administration decided to create an inter-agency work-group to “develop a consensus statement that informs Medicare policy.”
LuAnn continues her fight, and that decision has the potential to directly impact not only her case, but also the other 2 million amputees in the United States.
For the month of July, the Amputee Coalition National Convention will be held in Tucson, Arizona, where Troy Malone will speak on the importance of the movement and what him and his partner have planned next. Yet, another sign that the support for the limb loss community will continue to grow well into 2018 and beyond.
This article originally appeared on Buzzfeed.