Amputee Coalition Marks Silver Anniversary

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Jackie Sims learns something and meets someone new every time she attends an Amputee Coalition National Conference. This year’s meeting did not disappoint.

Sims, 46, who has bilateral transtibial amputations and a left wrist disarticulation, says she always notices the badges attendees wear. “I look for those who are attending a conference for the first time,” said Sims, who lost her limbs after she was badly burned in a welding accident at 19. “I figure they’re a newbie, and I make it a point to say hello. I was a first-timer once.”

Participants of OPAF’s First Volley adaptive tennis clinic get into the swing of things. Photographs courtesy of the Amputee Coalition.

Former Amputee Coalition President and CEO, Paddy Rossbach, RN, catches up with friends.

The Amputee Coalition, which marks its 25-year anniversary this year, celebrated at its 2011 National Conference, held June 2–4 in Kansas City, Missouri. More than 900 people with limb loss and exhibitors from 44 states and six foreign countries were present for three days of educational seminars, peer group and support group training, and athletic and social events.

Sims said she liked that the 2011 conference also offered some first-time events such as rock climbing. “I didn’t try it, but it looked like fun,” she said.

This is the seventh Amputee Coalition conference Sims has attended. This year’s event was one of the best, she said. “I love that the seminars I wanted to attend didn’t overlap. That was really nice.”

Amputee Coalition President and CEO Kendra Calhoun said she was pleased with the number of people who attended. “This was a very successful conference,” she said. “Not only was it a celebration of our first 25 years, but it was an occasion to see old friends, make new friends, socialize, and share valuable information…. We will now use that momentum to gear up for regional gatherings in 2012 and the national 2013 national conference.”

Amputee Coalition Conference Highlights

The Amputee Coalition, in partnership with Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, presented 22 Bridge to Ability scholarships to first-time conference attendees. Anne Garofolo, 18, of Medfield, Massachusetts, was presented with the Christina Skoski, MD, scholarship. In addition, the Amputee Coalition presented the following awards:

Pebble in the Pond: Marshall Cohen, Amputee Coalition board chair; and Jeffrey Cain, MD, board member.

Visionary Leadership: Mahesh Masukhani, president of Össur Americas, Reykjavic, Iceland.

Lifetime Achievement: Paddy Rossbach, RN, former president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition; Mary Novotny, RN, MS, founder and past president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition; Peter Thomas, JD; Doug McCormack; Doug Smith, MD; and Kathy Spozio.

Spirit of Collaboration: OPAF and the First Clinics; the Veterans Health Administration; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA).

Outstanding Professional (awarded posthumously): Todd Anderson, CP, FAAOP, Otto Bock HealthCare, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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