Mike Roman — amputee, race car driver and world land speed record-holder — will spread his message of hope on Aug. 28 at the Amputee Coalition of America’s (ACA) National Conference in Irvine, Calif.
Sponsored by Boston Scientific, Roman will recount his story to more than 900 attendees, including amputees, their families, support groups and exhibitors, at the conference’s gala dinner.
“On behalf of the Amputee Coalition of America, we are honored to have Mike Roman as our keynote speaker. In the face of despair and adversity, Mike overcame a tragic situation,” Kendra Calhoun, president and chief executive officer of the Amputee Coalition of America, stated in a press release. “With courage, hope and support, Mike has persevered to tell his story. While he lost his entire right leg and much time out of his life to severe chronic pain, Mike now wants amputees and others who have suffered trauma to know that giving up is not an option. Our members are looking forward to hearing his inspirational message.”
According to the press release, Roman began his arduous journey just after Thanksgiving in 1994 when he tore a ligament while playing basketball with friends. A surgical assistant in St. Louis at the time, he thought he was having a simple surgical procedure to repair the tear, but things changed when he contracted a severe staph infection after the surgery. Throughout the next several months and after numerous unsuccessful surgeries, he had his right leg amputated above the knee. Four years later, he had his entire right leg removed from the hip joint.
As with many amputees, he began to experience constant phantom limb pain. Roman could not get out of bed more than 3 to 5 hours per day and his emotions were contingent on his narcotics dose. He felt like he had failed and was unable to be a father or husband.
After 38 surgeries and 12 years of combating illness, Roman is back on track. He is pursuing his dream of becoming a race driver and achieving his goal of being the world’s fastest hip disarticulation patient. Last year, Roman not only achieved that goal but he established five new world land speed records.
At the gala dinner, Roman will stress the importance of determination, family teamwork, setting goals and the perseverance to achieve those goals.