The Australian public has been urged to don a green ribbon in support of Australian amputees and people with limb loss for National Amputee Awareness Week.
Limbs 4 Life, an organisation dedicated to empowering amputees has been sending out green ribbons so people can embrace “Get Your Ribbon On” for the national week running from the 4 - 11th October.
Chief Executive Officer of Limbs 4 Life Melissa Noonan says Australia currently has the second highest rate of diabetic-related amputations in the developed world.
“The aim of the week is to create awareness among the wider community, highlight the incidence of amputation in Australia, reduce the stigma sometimes experienced by amputees/people with limb loss and promote an inclusive community,” she says.
“To date we have shipped 10,000 green ribbons to people with limb loss nationally and the healthcare providers in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities to care for them.”
Ms Noonan says people who lose a limb are immediately impacted by the loss of their independence, functionality and mobility and stresses the importance of accessing the right prosthetic devices to promote functional outcomes and positive quality of life outcomes.
World ranked Australian Para-snowboarder Joany Badenhorst, knows firsthand the importance of amputee awareness after a severe tractor accident thirteen years ago led to the amputation of her left leg below her knee.
She says Amputee Awareness Week is “critical to new and veteran amputees.”
“The community surrounding all amputees is the cornerstone of a happy and healthy life so for me, Amputee Awareness Week is an amazing opportunity for everyone to meet, find support systems and most importantly, reassure amputees that they are not alone and where there is a will, there is a way.”
Ms Badenhorst says life as an amputee can be “incredibly isolating at times” and is hoping the week “opens up new doors to new adventures” for the amputee community.
With the latest figures indicating more than 8,000 lower limb amputations are performed each year in Australia, Ms Badenhorst’s advice to people dealing with this highly overwhelming change is “it’s not the end, only the beginning.”
“Obviously there is a long road ahead and you will need to be patient and kind to yourself but remember, where there is a will there is a way and there is ALWAYS a way,” she says.
“My life changed dramatically after the accident but it brought love, laughter and life to me. It showed me how strong I can be and let me discover the type of person I wanted to be.”
To get involved in National Amputee Awareness Week you can order a ribbon through Limbs 4 Life and share photos wearing them onto social media using the hashtags #GetYourRibbonON #NAAW18 and #amputee.