Dear family & friends:
In 2017, we embarked on a mission to complete a 1,500 mile triathlon down the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego to raise awareness and advocate for fair, adequate rights for amputees and their access to the prostheses they need to meet and exceed their mobility goals.
This mission was personal.
Having lost my leg to bone cancer at the age of 10, I had gone 16 years of my life working tirelessly to regain my mobility, but come up against countless odds to access the prosthetic technology and care I needed 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.”
The prosthetics you see in the media are not the reality for most amputees.
The only prosthesis afforded to me, and most amputees, through insurance is designed only for walking – AND – prostheses are prohibitively expensive, ranging from $5,000-$100,000, and are replaced every 3-5 years.
With your generous donations and support, we successfully made it to San Diego, where I was granted my first-ever running leg, after being an amputee for 16 years. We haven’t looked back since!
In the two years since then, we have:
- Founded Forrest Stump as a nonprofit advocacy organization
- Filmed an award-winning documentary film, 1500 Miles (watch our trailer here )
- Lobbied to members of Congress in Washington, D.C.
- Completed a 10-week health policy and advocacy fellowship in Washington, D.C.
- Summited a 19,347ft volcano in Ecuador with 14 other amputees and a non-profit, for-impact healthcare organization, the Range of Motion Project (ROMP) (watch our summit here )
- Partnered with nonprofit organizations expanding access to physical activity for amputees, including the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Team Catapult, Dare2Tri, and Wiggle Your Toes
And, spoken dozens of times on amputee rights and our advocacy work to countless companies, universities, colleges, and nonprofit organizations!
Since receiving my running blade, I have been able to take my triathlon training to the next level, chasing my athletic potential. I was recently crowned National Champion at the Paratriathlon National Championships. I want other amputees to have this opportunity to reach for their own potential.
Forrest Stump is becoming a household name in the amputee, O&P, and adaptive athletic community, and our goals are as aspirational as when we first started.
We are now embarking on an impact tour across the country to share our documentary film and story.
We are building a movement and coalition of amputees, athletes, and nonprofit allies willing to join our cause and demand better access to prosthetic technology from our healthcare system.
We are curating a map of stories about other amputees’ experiences to expand Forrest Stump’s army of advocates and message nationwide.
We are also partnering with researchers and legislators to form the business and medical case for expanded access to prosthetic technology, which will one day support legislation to do so.
Your donation will help support these efforts. Together we are truly shifting the narrative for athletes and empowering the next generation of amputees.
Will you join us in this fight?
- Ben Wobker
- Mark Reckers
- Suzanne Haidri
- nigel stuart
Nicole Ver Kuilen
Ann Arbor, MI