‘It’s a constant battle’, local amputee pleads for more resources

BRAZIL, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – A local woman raises awareness about people living with limb loss and the lack of resources we have in the community.

As Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month draws to a close, Jennifer Daugherty shines a light on her journey as an amputee, to help others not feel so alone and hopefully bring more resources to the community.

She described herself as an athlete and even landed a full scholarship to college to play basketball. However, after breaking his foot a few years ago on the job, his life took a complete 180.

“I just walked on rough ground and broke my foot. And so from there, after 13 surgeries, they had to amputate my leg. The nerves in my leg were dying from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome,” Daugherty said.

She said a lot of people assume that because she wears a prosthesis, she must be doing just fine. But the truth is that everyday tasks that used to be done mindlessly now require extreme effort.

“It took me a long time to even get into a prosthesis. I had to go through a few revisions, and I think people think, ‘Well, you have a prosthesis, you can do it.’ Not so. .Because I mean, I try everything, and if I can’t do it, I can’t do it,” Daugherty said.

Daugherty dug deep and remained hopeful and motivated. She even managed to build her fence in the back yard in a wheelchair.

However, even knowing she has her prosthesis, she said there are days when she can’t stay in it for very long, making it difficult to go to something as simple as the grocery store.

“It’s more involved than just the leg. You’ve got socks, you’ve got liners, you’ve got shrinkers, and you have to charge them every time you go anywhere. Because you might be out and all of a sudden your leg doesn’t fit you well,” Daugherty said.

After her amputation, Daugherty said she quickly realized the lack of resources for people living with limb loss in Vigo County.

“I get it every time I’ve talked to amputees who don’t even have a prosthesis and they say ‘well, we can’t afford it, even with insurance. We can’t afford it, you know, my leg is $20,000, I’ve had it for 8, 9 months, and insurance will only pay a certain amount,” Daugherty said.

She said she wanted to start the conversation about people living with limb loss, to hopefully bring more resources to the community.

Daugherty said a huge resource for her was the Amputee Coalition.

“The staff are amazing in terms of reaching out to members of the amputee community to support them, whether it’s a peer visitor, whether it’s pre-op education, they’re engaging to be part of the amputee community,” Leslie Green, director of patient education and advocacy for the Hanger Clinic, said.

Green also works with the Amputee Coalition to help connect amputees across the country.

The Amputee Coalition is a national organization that helps educate people living with limb loss and their families, and also improves quality of life.

Green said he served as an anchor and gave amputees resources when they might not have any nearby and at a time when they felt very alone.

“What a great time to really start moving forward and helping people understand that amputation isn’t the end of your life, it’s a new path to follow,” Green said.

For a full list of resources and ways to connect with the Amputee Coalition, you can visit www.amputeecoalition.org.