APRIL IS LIMB Awareness Month, and Quincy resident LuAnn Kleemeyer is drawing attention to amputees — there are over 2 million Americans living with limb loss.
Almost five years ago a track hoe not properly chained down fell off a trailer and landed on Kleemeyer, taking her right leg and forever changing her life.
LuAnn started a local amputee support group. She’s learned how to swim for exercise and will be getting an associate’s degree in Psychology from John Wood Community College in May. In August she starts at Quincy University to get her bachelor’s degree.
“On April 2, President Obama declared April as Limb Loss Awareness Month, and I am adding my voice to others supporting the Amputee Coalition to draw attention to this worthy cause,” LuAnn says. “Our hope is that the next time you see someone walking on a prosthetic leg or reaching for something with a prosthetic hand, we ask you to recognize the challenges that we face every day.”
Facts about limb loss:
— Among those living with limb loss, the main causes are vascular disease (54 percent), trauma (45 percent) and cancer (less than 2 percent).
— Approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year.
— In 2009, hospital costs associated with amputation totaled more than $8.3 billion.
— Nearly half of the individuals who have an amputation due to vascular disease will die within five years. This is higher than the five-year mortality rates for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
— Of persons with diabetes who have a lower extremity amputation, up to 55 percent will require amputation of the second leg within two to three years.
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