BRAZIL, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – One local woman is raising awareness about people who live with limb loss and the lack of resources we have in the community.
As Limb Loss Awareness and Limb Difference Awareness Month comes to a close, Jennifer Daugherty is shedding light on her journey as an amputee, to help others not feel so alone, and hopefully bring more resources to the community.
She described herself as an athlete and even scored herself a full-ride scholarship for college to play basketball. However, after breaking her foot a few years ago while at work, her life did a complete 180.
“I just happened to step on an uneven ground and broke my foot. And so from there, after 13 surgeries, they had to amputate my leg. The nerves in my leg were dying due to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome,” Daugherty said.
She said many people assume that because she’s in a prosthetic, that she must be doing just fine. But the truth is, everyday tasks that used to be done without thought, now require an extreme amount of effort.
“It took me a long time to even get into a prosthetic. I had to have a couple of revisions, and I think people think, ‘well you have a prosthetic, you can just do it.’ Not the case. Because I mean, I try everything, and if I can’t do it, I can’t do it,” Daugherty said.
Daugherty dug deep and held onto hope and motivation. She even managed to build her fence in the backyard in a wheelchair.
However, even know that she has her prosthetic, she said there are some days that she can’t be on it for very long, making it difficult to go somewhere as simple as the grocery store.
“It’s more involved than just the leg. You have socks, you have liners, you have shrinkers and you have to load that up any time you go anywhere. Because you could be out and all of the sudden, your leg’s not fitting you right,” Daugherty said.
After her amputation, Daugherty said she quickly realized the lack of resources for people that live with limb loss in Vigo County.
“I get it whenever I have talked to some amputees that don’t even have a prosthetic and they say ‘well we can’t afford it, even with insurance. We can’t afford it you know, my leg is 20 thousand dollars, I’ve had it for 8, 9 months, and insurance will only pay for so much,” Daugherty said.
She said she wants to get the conversation going about people who live with limb loss, to hopefully get more resources brought to the community.
Daugherty said a huge resource for her, has been the Amputee Coalition.
“The staff is incredible in terms of reaching out to members of the amputee community to come right alongside, whether that’s a peer visitor, whether it’s education preoperatively, they are committed to being a part of the amputee community,” Leslie Green, Director of Education and Patient Advocacy for the Hanger Clinic, said.
Green also works with the Amputee Coalition to help connect amputees from around the country.
The Amputee Coalition is a national organization that helps educate people who live with limb loss and their families, and also enhance quality of life.
Green said it serves as an anchor and gives amputees resources when they may not have any nearby, and at a time when they may be feeling very alone.
“What a perfect time to really start to move forward and help people understand that amputation is not the end of your life, it’s a new way forward,” Green said.
For a full list of resources and ways to get connected with the Amputee Coalition, you can visit www.amputeecoalition.org.