MEET NICOLE, AKA FORREST
In her 16 years as an amputee, Nicole has worked tirelessly to regain her mobility, but come up against countless odds to access the technology and care she needs to move freely and participate in sports.
First, a waterproof limb was considered a “convenience item” and denied by insurance. Later, a leg built for running was deemed “not medically necessary.”
What you see in the media is not the reality for most amputees.
The only prosthetic afforded to Nicole through insurance is designed only for walking – AND – prosthetics are prohibitively expensive, ranging from $5,000-$100,000, and are replaced every 3-5 years.
1500 MILES DOWN THE WEST COAST
This past year was the last straw for Nicole.
She realized amputees in America today are still struggling to obtain even the most basic prosthetics to live.
So, she decided to help be a voice for change. With the help of her mom, Jan Harley, partner & prosthetist, Natalie Harold, and training buddy, Kathleen Wang, Nicole quit her job and set out on a 1,500 mile triathlon down the west coast to raise awareness, calling their journey “Forrest Stump.”
TAKING HER MESSAGE TO D.C.
Since then, Nicole and Snowday Studio have filmed a documentary called “1500 Miles,” taken her message to D.C. to meet with members of Congress, and spoken more than a dozen times to hundreds of people.
She is now founding Forrest Stump as a 501c3 nonprofit advocacy organization to raise the standard of care for all amputees.
At the end of my 1,500 mile journey, I was granted my very own running blade by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Microsoft, Össur, and Cornerstone Prosthetics & Orthotics. To finally have access to this technology after 16 years of being an amputee…it’s hard to even put into words what that means to me. Receiving this leg was not my goal for Forrest Stump, but as you can imagine, I was in tears with gratitude. And as grateful as I am, I know that no one should have to go to this length to prove they deserve access to a limb.Nicole Ver Kuilen