April is an important month for the members of our community. Adults, children, or parents of a limb-different child. Every year in April, we celebrate Limb Difference Awareness Month.
It’s a month that, in particular, we see a widespread embrace for the particular challenges and stereotypes that this community faces every day and look to tackle them with positive influence to ask, educate and celebrate. Since its fairly recent creation and through the influential ways of social media, the light shed on what could and couldn’t be done has progressed massively.
Gone are many of the days where attitudes assume the limb-different cannot do. Now we live in days with more ways to do. Quite possibly, that ‘do’ can be the most important factor of them all. You could ask any limb-different human, whether born with a difference or through injury, there are many times where the word ‘can’t’ has a very powerful beam to it. Luckily, those days are fading.
Through this month’s annual efforts to change perceptions, along with events such as the Paralympics and the incredible Invictus Games, people are seeing first hand that it’s mind over matter in many a case. Even if for some that means receiving the ‘patronising’ tag of being labelled inspirational, it shows people are paying attention and taking the movement seriously.
Personally, when I was younger I never spoke about my hand. I never thought, ‘What if we had a month for people with hands like me?’ I was happy to just live normally and never speak of it. It wasn’t something I thought much about making much of. I, like many in the limb-different world, stayed quiet and worked hard to tackle challenges; to do things we previously had been told shouldn’t been able to do. I think many others share this similar mentality, which is why I think it’s taken quite some time to get the shine the community now has begun to receive.
In a world with so many unique groups with much more vocal members, the limb-different community was one that stayed quiet for a lot longer. We kinda just kept our heads down and moved forward. This may have harmed our perception, but the community wasn’t wanting any special treatment.
In today’s demographic, the limb-different world is truly fascinating. People having remarkable prosthetics created personally for them with all sorts of designs is a sight to behold and a landmark moment in technology. We also have a number of incredible ambassadors, many of them young, as well as plenty of organisations each adhering to specific defects.
With all the newfound change, the positivity that accompanies it also removes the barrier in the way of discussion and leaves people feeling far more at ease to ask questions. Being open to all questions, regardless of how silly they may sound, is a progressive attitude to maintain. You as a limb-different human have a different story to tell that is completely foreign to the average Joe.
April also marks the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing – an attack which left sixteen people suffering limb loss from the blast, leaving them in a traumatic time as well as introducing them to new challenge in life of adaptation with prosthetics.
With that said, aim to make the most of this month. Spread your story and help others share theirs. Share contacts, offer advice, be open and be proud of who you are and what you have achieved. It is only because of the strong-willed attitudes this community possesses that has brought us this far – and we can always go further and do more.