Lacey Henderson, who lost her left leg in 1999 due to failed chemotherapy trials for a rare soft tissue pediatric cancer, gave the keynote address to begin the morning session of the event.
Henderson is a Paralympian, public speaker, model, and sport and performance psychology professional. And while she has written numerous published works, been featured in international commercials, served in varying capacities in local government, she’ll be the first to say her most important accomplishment is sharing her experience and knowledge to empower and spread resources with those around her. She told the audience the most important thing about inspiration and being inspired is that “it can be found anywhere.”
Henderson, also a seven-time US long jump champion, American record holder, and 2019 Para Pan American silver medalist, says she has never considered herself disabled. “My life, and consequently my career in sport, has shown me that being a disabled woman is something to celebrate every day,” she said.
And if you were looking for inspiration at the symposium, it was prevalent throughout the daylong event and in almost every session held at the conference.
Troy Karnes was one of the speakers during the “Innovations in Limb Preservation” session. Karnes’s experience began in the summer of 2021 when he was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma in his right shoulder blade and in the joint. After months of surgery and the removal of his right shoulder blade and joint, he says he is cancer-free. It was a journey, he says, that tested his resolve, and he gave credit to the foundation, who provided assistance during his recovery. “[LPF] helped me sort out a ride to and from physical therapy when I could not drive myself,” said Karnes, who recently became a real estate agent. “We have two young children, so transportation became very complicated for my family after my surgeries. [LPF] ensured that I could get a good start in my recovery because I did not miss a session of PT.”
Inger Brueckner, MS, PT, participated in the “Ways to Manage Pain” session, which was a discussion on key pain management strategies. Brueckner practices at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver and has been the lead physical therapists of the amputee program since it started in 2005. She discussed the many complex avenues of pain and the various ways in which it can be treated.
A member of the audience, who had an amputation of his left leg years ago, was listening to the pain management discussion, and gave credit to Brueckner and her colleagues, David Schnur, MD, and Giancarlo Barolat, MD, for helping him manage his chronic pain. “If it wasn’t for them and the help they’ve given me, I would have taken my own life ten years ago,” he told everyone.
The event came to a close with another keynote address by Jeffrey Cain, MD, who had bilateral transtibial amputations from trauma 20 years ago and teaches at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The dinner fundraising event also featured another keynote address by Jenna McMullin, vice president of communications for Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado. McMullin is a cancer survivor and beneficiary of limb preservation surgeries as well as a bone and tissue donation recipient.