Dozens of people with limb loss and their family members gathered May 2 for the first “Get Active DC,” a day of community-building, education, running and mobility activities sponsored by the Amputee Coalition, the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Össur.
The event, held at the Lerner Health & Wellness Center on the campus of George Washington University, began with the Amputee Coalition’s Limb Loss Education Day (LLED). Speakers included Terrance Sheehan, MD, medical director of the Amputee Coalition and chief medical officer at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital in Maryland, who shared his perspective on the team approach to amputee care; Kelly McGaughey, PT, DPT, center coordinator of Clinical Education, Amputee Physical Therapy Service at Walter Reed National Military Hospital, who talked about how to get the most from rehabilitation; and Megan Hosey, PhD, rehabilitation psychologist at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, who spoke on the health and emotional benefits of remaining active.
“Our Limb Loss Education Day program is an important resource for the amputee community, and we are pleased to be partnering with the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Össur in Washington, D.C. to make this unique event possible,” Susan Stout, president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition, stated in a press release.
During the second half, a running and mobility clinic was held to help people with lower limb loss learn to walk and run. The event provides a safe and encouraging environment where attendees learn proper running form and technique through fun drills and exercises. Amputees were assisted by lower limb amputee mobility experts Robert S. Gailey, PhD, PT and Peter Harsch, CPO.
“The CAF [ Challenged Athletes Foundation] is dedicated to helping people with physical challenges live full, active lives through participation in fitness activities and competitive sports,” Virginia Tinley, CAF’s executive director. “We are pleased to be joining the Amputee Coalition and Össur in providing this special day of activities for the Washington, D.C. community.”
During the clinic, Össur presented a custom-built prosthesis to Amanda Merrell of Gaithersburg, Md. The 13-year-old Merrell, who enjoys soccer and running, lost her left leg to Ewing’s sarcoma. She received the prosthesis, designed for kids’ high-impact physical activities, through a grant from Össur and CAF.
“Össur is dedicated to continually innovating so that more people may enjoy the full benefits of mobility and physical activity. We are inspired by people like Amanda, who show us what it means to enjoy a life without limitations, and proud to serve alongside the Amputee Coalition and CAF in making Get Active DC possible,” Kim De Roy, CPO/PT, vice president of sales and marketing and education, prosthetics for Össur Americas, stated in the release.