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April is Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month

The theme for 2024 is "We Thrive". Here’s how to get involved.

soccer player with limb loss stretching on a green field

Around 5.6 million Americans are living with limb loss and limb difference, and over half a million individual experience limb loss or are born with limb difference each year.  

 

Within this diverse community, there are many inspiring people who are thriving with limb loss or limb difference. That’s why this year’s Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month theme is “We Thrive”. 
 
Whether you have experienced a limb loss yourself or know someone with a limb difference, April is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about limb loss and support this community. But first, let’s take a look at some significant moments in the history of Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month.

History of Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month

  • 1986: The Amputee Coalition was founded to support the needs of people with limb loss
  • 1997: National Limb Loss Resource Center (NLLRC) developed by the Amputee Coalition in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • 2002: The Amputee Coalition began advocating to ensure amputees have access to prosthetic devices
  • 2010: First Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month

 

April was first designated as Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month in 2010. At the time, it was very difficult for amputees and their caregivers to access the support and resources they needed to live well with a limb loss or difference. Amputees didn’t have a voice or platform in society, so the Amputee Coalition organized Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month to honor this community and educate others about what it’s like to live with limb loss or difference. 

 

Since then, awareness of limb loss and limb difference has increased significantly. We watch the Paralympic Games, where amputees like snowboarder Mike Schultz and cross-country skier Oksana Masters compete for medals. Major stores like Target and Nike offer adaptive clothing made to accommodate prosthetics or braces, and show people with limb loss/differences in their advertising. Today, Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month is celebrated across the U.S. 

 

As a result of these efforts, many legislative changes have been introduced and put into law. For example, the Amputee Coalition has introduced changes to more than 35 state and federal legislatures and passed changes in 20 states providing insurance coverage for prosthetic devices. However, there’s still lots of progress to be made. 

6 Ways to participate in Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month

By participating in Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month this April, you can help recognize people living with limb loss/difference and raise awareness about preventing limb loss. Here are six ways to get involved:

1. Change your Facebook cover photo

One easy way to recognize Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month is to change your Facebook cover photo. The Amputee Coalition has created a cover photo that you can use to show your support and help raise awareness about this event. You can also display the Limb Loss and Limb Difference awareness ribbon on your profile.

2. Share the facts

Most people don’t realize how common limb loss is, or that more than 60% of amputations are preventable. To help raise awareness, the Amputee Coalition has created a helpful infographic that you can share on your social media channels.

3. Host your own Paralympic Games

The Paralympic Games may be over, but it’s not too late to host your own sporting event. It’s a great opportunity to learn about paralympic sports, and try events like archery, boccia, or goalball. These sports can be played by everyone regardless of age, gender, or ability  — and they’re a lot of fun!

4. Exercise for a good cause

Exercise is an important way to reduce your chances of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease — two conditions that are associated with an increased risk of needing an amputation. When you exercise with apps like Charity Miles, you turn your workout into a way to raise money for charity. The more you workout, the more you give. There are also apps like Givhero that allow employers to reward employees’ health achievements through donations to their favorite charity, including the Amputee Coalition.

5. Donate your vehicle

Did you know that you can donate your car, motorcycle, RV, boat, or commercial vehicle to support the Amputee Coalition? Charitable Adult Rides & Services (CARS) will pick up your used vehicle for free and send you a donation receipt and necessary tax documents. Profits from the sale of the vehicle will go toward developing educational materials, advocating for better policies, and expanding support networks for individuals with limb loss and limb difference.

6. Shop and support individuals with limb loss/difference

In addition to making a donation, your purchases can help raise money for limb loss research and advocacy. The Amputee Coalition store sells t-shirts and other gear, and all profits go to support Amputee Coalition programs. You can also look for disability-owned businesses to directly support entrepreneurs with limb loss/difference and other disabilities. 

Download the free Disability Events calendar

Whether you change your cover photo, share the facts, or make a donation, your efforts will make a difference for individuals living with limb loss and limb difference. For more disability-related events and observances you can participate in all year, download our free Disability Events Calendar.

Free Resource: 2024 Disability Events Calendar
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