In the 16 years I’ve been an amputee, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent advancing prosthetic limb technology.

I’ve seen articles published left and right saying:

“The Insane and Exciting Future of the Bionic Body,” (Smithsonian) or,

“An Amputee Sprinter: Is he Disabled or Too-Abled?” (The New York Times) or,

“What if a bionic leg is so good that someone chooses to amputate?” (The Guardian)

Yet, the only change I’ve seen in 16 years to my prosthetic device is a pin-lock to keep my leg from falling off and a slightly more springy carbon fiber foot. 

My prosthesis is only designed for walking, and this is the only prosthesis that insurance affords me.

  • My leg is not waterproof.
  • It’s not designed for high-activity sports, like running.
  • There’s no bend in the ankle for climbing hills or skiing or wearing heels.
  • When I sweat, it slides off my body, often creating blisters, sores, and infections on my leg.
  • I have little control over its cosmetic quality.
  • And the imbalance between my prosthetic leg and the right side of my body is creating long term damage from overcompensation.

For the average amputee like me, words like “bionic” or “too-abled” are far from reality.

There is a huge disconnect in our system, where the technology that is being produced – even the most basic technology – is only accessible to a small percentage of amputees. This disconnect is due to outdated policies, inequities in insurance coverage, and our inefficient health care system.

We live in an age where we have the technology to eliminate a disability! However, the power to grant access to that technology is in the hands of our politicians and insurance executives, not our care providers.

It’s a frustrating reality to live in a society where someone would even question cutting off their own leg to gain a superior performance advantage, while amputees still today are struggling to access the limbs they need for their daily lives.

In July, Forrest Stump was built on the idea that one voice was enough to challenge the status quo. To use my voice to help raise the voices of countless other amputees demanding better access to the technology and care they need and deserve.

Perhaps my voice wasn’t loud enough – yet – but it was a step towards making a difference.

If you’d like to help, please support our GoFundMe campaign.

I can’t thank you enough for following my story. For believing that one person’s voice does matter. And that together, we can create a movement for change.