I had one of those ‘aha’ moments earlier this week. The Internet has completely changed in the last eight years and I think it’s worth celebrating. When Jordan was born, I searched for resources on limb differences. I felt so alone. After discovering the Sammy’s Friends listserv on Yahoo, I found other parents of children with limb differences. But I had no idea how I could contact or meet adults with limb differences. So I kept writing here and my network grew.
Eventually I discovered I-CAN, International Child Amputee Network, and found some adults in that group. It’s a resource many people have come to really use. I continued to find more limb difference families, but if felt like we were all figuring it out at the same time. I kept searching for adults who could offer additional perspective. Camp No Limits offered our first real connections to adults with limb differences. The camp offers so many wonderful mentors for limb different kids, their siblings and family members. And then I happened to meet Ryan Haack online. (The picture to the left is when we finally met this past summer during our Born Just Right meetup.) He contacted me through Born Just Right and discussed how he felt there were few adults offering insight about living with an upper limb difference. So he set out to launch Living One Handed. And he shares videos and podcasts about being different with humor and education! Not everyone can do that! (His humor also continues online with his Twitter and Facebook pages.)
My network of adults with limb differences has grown exponentially in the last few years. I’m lucky to have Kathryn offering her perspectives here on Born Just Right. I have Ryan who recently launched a podcast where he interviews other adults with limb differences. There’s Candida Sullivan with her Zippy books. There are mentors coming out of the seams at Camp Nubability. Of course, Aimee Mullins speaks all over the world with her stories of confidence and ability. More and more people are speaking in public about their obvious difference and how they feel about it. Heck, there are some people who are making prosthetics into something beautiful and others who are making it more affordable.
Just this week, British model and actress, Grace Mandeville, shared this video about living with one hand. (By the way, she’s the woman modeling the first artistic prosthetic in this New York Times piece.)