The Amputee Coalition has declared April as Limb Loss Awareness Month in order to increase awareness about people living with limb loss and limb-loss prevention. More than two million Americans live with limb loss, and that number grows by 185,000 each year.
For the fifth year, during April, amputee support groups, veterans, prosthetists, rehabilitation centers, and people with limb loss will participate in a number of activities in their local areas to raise awareness. This year, the Amputee Coalition is encouraging people to engage in two major efforts. April 20 is Hill Day, an all-day event that involves meeting with your elected representatives in Washington in a show of solidarity. The goal is to present a unified voice on key issues such as insurance fairness, funding for research, and changes to the local coverage determination process. If you able to attend, contact [email protected]. On April 23, the coalition invites people with limb loss to “Show Your Mettle,” by wearing their prostheses in public, taking a photo, and posting it on the Amputee Coalition’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, or Instagram account. The concept is simple: Amputees show their mettle-the ability to cope well with difficulties or face a demanding situation in a spirited, resilient way-by showing their metal.
“April is a month of celebration, engagement, and education. Limb loss is becoming less uncommon every day,” said Susan Stout, Amputee Coalition president and CEO. “Each day more than 500 people lose a limb, largely due to vascular-related diseases and their complications. Over 60 percent of those amputations are preventable. Our goals are to heighten public awareness about limb loss and increase people’s understanding of prevention-especially those most at risk. The Amputee Coalition also works to ensure that amputees do not have to go through this journey alone.”
Throughout the month, amputee support groups across the country are holding events to show their mettle and raise limb-loss awareness by planning and holding walk/run/roll events in their communities to benefit the coalition’s mission to empower people affected by limb loss to achieve their full potential.
Limb loss affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. Statistics show that those at greatest risk for limb loss are African Americans, people of Hispanic descent, Americans that have a vascular disease (diabetes, peripheral arterial disease), and smokers. Cancer is also a cause of limb loss. Traumatic limb loss can suddenly happen to anyone due to an accident with lawnmowers, farm equipment, motorcycles, boats, or cars. The immediate healthcare costs for the amputation of a limb, not including prosthetic costs or rehabilitation costs, total more than $8.3 billion annually. Nearly half of the individuals who have had an amputation due to vascular disease will die within five years. This statistic is higher than the five-year mortality rates for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
For more information, visit the Amputee Coalition’s Limb Loss Awareness Month web page.