Archive for the 'Prosthetic Limb' Category

Limb Loss Education Day at NYU

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Limb Loss Education Day, New York City

On May 18, Given Limb participated in Limb Loss Education Day at New York University.  The Amputee Coalition and the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF) sponsored this first-of-its-kind event.   The attendance was above expectation with over 130 registrants.

The day’s first speaker was Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and Medical Director of the Rusk Institute.  Given Limb President, Martha McDade, had lunch with Dr. Cohen, and was impressed by the range of services and creativity offered by the Institute. Other speakers included Kareemah Batts, a below knee amputee, who started NYC Adaptive Climbing.  The video of her climb, when she admitted to having weighed 600 pounds, was amazing.  Through her increased activity, she has lost much of that weight…also inspiring!

Claribell  Bayona, a Senior Occupational Therapist at Rusk Institute, described how numerous devices aid in everyday living, including grasp assisting devices, modified utensils and architectural features, and that wonder material Dycem® (a doublesided sticky material, pictured below, that can be cut to any size and when placed under a dish or other object, keeps it from sliding).

Rebekah Marine, a working model (photo below) described how being born without a forearm has not prevented her from pursuing a modeling career.  She is also a dynamic speaker and was quite inspirational.

While all speakers were wonderful, the highlight of the day was First Dance.  Sponsored by OPAF, First Dance was a ballroom dance class taught by renowned ballroom instructors, Curtis and Sarah Haremza. Below is a video showing Curtis teaching the start of the class.  Check out the man in the black shirt.  That is Reggie Showers, bilateral amputee, who holds 14 world records and two world championships in motorcycle drag racing.  Could “Dancing with the Stars” be next on his list of accomplishments? Reggie is also a Certified Peer Visitor with the Amputee Coalition—a program that Given Limb helped Amputee Coalition to launch for the Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Doctors Rewire Nervous System for Amputees

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

“The Economist” has reported on a new technique called “targeted reinnervation”, which allows doctors to rewire the nervous system of amputees so that they can more naturally use their prosthetic limbs.

Prosthetic arms are becoming more sophisticated, but many amputees prefer to use the older, simpler mechanical models.  This is because learning to use the more sophisticated myoelectric devices can be difficult.  Using the arms, which rely on electromyography (EMG) sensors on the skin to control movement, requires retraining the brain to make new associations between muscle movements (e.g., shoulder flexing) and the resulting movement of the prosthetic.  Doctors are addressing this issue by using a technique called “targeted reinnervation”, which involves rerouting the nerves that were used to control the now-missing limb and connecting them to another part of the body.  They are also developing sensors that can be attached to prosthetic limbs and connected to the skin’s underlying sensory system, so that prosthetic limbs will be able to “feel” sensations like temperature and pressure.

Forty people around the world have already undergone targeted reinnervation, and the hope is that someday it can also be applied to paraplegics, and that electrodes can ultimately be implanted in the motor cortex of the brain

See the complete article in “The Economist Technology Quarterly”.

Prosthetic decorations

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

An amputee himself, a GLF reader named Dan has developed a way to decorate prosthetic devices with custom designs or tattoos.  He has produced a variety of designs on prosthetics–American flags, Marine insignias, roses, etc.  If you visit his website,, you can see examples of his work and get information on how to contact him.

Gas Pedal Devices

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Several people have written to us offering gas pedal devices or left foot gas pedals for amputees or people who cannot use their right foot on the gas pedal.  If you know of someone who could use such a device, write to us and we will try to connect you with someone who would like to donate a device.

Donating Prosthetic Limbs to Help Indigent in Mexico

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

We have received numerous inquiries from people who have prosthetic limbs that are no longer being used and would like to donate them to someone who can use them.  We have been referring everyone to the Amputee Coalition of America website, where they have a list of agencies that will accept those donations.  (See the previous post “Donations of Prosthetic Limbs”  for a link to the ACA webpage.)  However, recently we have been in touch with PIPO Missions in Savannah, Ga., another foundation which resuses donated prosthetic limbs and braces to help the indigent in Mexico.  Founded by David Puckett, a licensed prosthetist who was featured on CNN’s “Heroes” program, PIPO’s mission is to “reach out to southeastern Mexico’s indigent, physically disabled citizens who are in specific need of orthotic and/or prosthetic care, but are unable to afford services, through the provision of orthopedic braces and artificial limbs along with corrective surgery whenever possible.”  David Puckett visits towns and villages in southeastern Mexico several times each year providing free medical care to patients with orthopedic needs, fitting them with the prosthetic limbs and braces that have been donated to PIPO.  For more information about PIPO, click here.

PIPO has been able to assist approximately 150  people each year, and they welcome the donation of prosthetic limbs and devices.  Donations may be shipped to the following address:

PIPO Missions

5202 Waters Avenue

Savannah, GA  31404

Include your name, address, and description of the donated limb and they will send you a thank-you letter for your records.

The Given Limb Foundation welcomes other suggestions of  agencies that accept these donations!  Our recent post titled “Haiti needs Prosthetic Limbs” received some suggestions of where to send limb donations as well–see the comments attached to that post for more information.

Donation of Prosthetic Limbs

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

We have received numerous questions about how to go about donating used prosthetic limbs.  Thanks to Glenn Standage, who informed us that the Amputee Coalition of America lists on its website several organizations that accept these donations.  We refer interested donors to the ACA webpage.  Click here for a link.

Haiti needs prosthetic limbs

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

As a result of the tragic earthquake in Haiti, many people lost limbs, and there is a tremendous and immediate need for prosthetic limbs as well as prosthetists to fit limbs.  We have heard from several people asking about limb donations.  The St. Vincent’s School for children with disabilities is in need of child sized prosthetic limbs, and there are other orphanages caring for wounded children in the aftermath of the earthquake.  If you know of someone with the ability to help, or if you have contact with other groups in Haiti looking for prosthetics, please respond to this blog.  Perhaps we can facilitate the direction of funds or aid efforts in this cause.

Sean Cumings Memorial Scholarship

Monday, January 11th, 2010
Sean Cumings

Sean Cumings

The Given Limb Foundation is pleased to announce the Sean Michael Cumings Camp Scholarship.  The scholarship will enable two children to attend the Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp run by the Amputee Coalition of America during the summer of 2010.

Sean Cumings was an amazing young man from Westbrook, CT, who lost his life last year at the age of 24.  Sean lived his short life as a reflection of who he was: genuine, friendly, funny, and full of love. One warm handshake from Sean with his beautiful smile and you knew you met a new friend.  Sean was passionate about his workouts and his chiseled body was like a work of art.  Sean also loved to fish with his brother Alex and his Uncle Brian, do silly impressions and joke with his best friend Mat, laugh and love with his girlfriend Abbey, bug his Dad to use his car, hug and tease his Mom, and play with his do, Shay. His brother, Alex, will always look up to his big brother Sean. Sean was a student at Southern Connecticut State University completing his last year in sociology and criminal justice.  Sean also leaves behind a lifetime of friends too numerous to mention, because everyone Sean met became his friend.  Sean’s parents, Laura and Peter, noted Sean’s love of children in asking Given Limb to find a fitting tribute for donations made in Sean’s name.

Camper at ACA's Paddy Rossbach Camp for children with limb difference, photo courtesy of ACA

Camper at ACA's Paddy Rossbach Camp for children with limb difference, photo courtesy of ACA

The Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp fit the goal perfectly in that it offers a traditional camp experience to children ages 10-17 who have lost arms or legs or were born with limb difference.  Since its beginning in 2000, the camp has hosted more than 450 campers from 42 states and three countries.  Attendance at the camp is made possible without cost to the campers and many of the counselors are former campers who volunteer their time.


We extend our thanks to Sean’s many family and friends for making these scholarships possible. Their loss will be transformed into lifetime gains for many children whose confidence and abilities will be expanded by the camp experience.


Anyone interested in making a donation to the fund may do so by clicking here to be directed to the “Donate” page, and by specifying that the contribution is for the Sean Cumings Memorial Scholarship.


Insurance Runs Out for 12-Year-Old Boy

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Benjamin French, a 12-year-old boy from Michigan, was born without his right arm below the elbow. He has had several prostheses fitted for him throughout his life and his insurance company now claims that he is ineligible for future coverage. In Michigan, insurance companies are allowed to place a cap on the amount of money spent on prosthetics throughout a lifetime. His policy with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan only covers a maximum of $30,000 for prosthetics and an additional $1,000 a year for repair. His recent prosthetic arm is set to cost $30,000 and he may grow out of that. His mother states that this new prosthetic will cost over half of the family’s combined income. Heath care reform bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate will push for a more uniform system of health care but it will still differ from state to state.

Marine Receives New Feet and New Mission

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Josh Wege, a Marine from Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, lost both feet to a roadside blast in Afghanistan in October.  He has spent the past month at Walter Reed Army Hospital being fitted for new prosthetic feet that will enable him to walk unaided.  Josh is already advancing to crutches this month and plans to walk through the door with no crutches at Christmas.  Josh’s recovery and determination are remarkable and we wish him all the best.