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.