Program offers help, hope to amputees and families
(05/01/14) - Losing an arm or leg can be devastating, leaving someone with overwhelming emotions and questions about the future. It is a struggle faced by so many right here in our community, that there is a huge event happening in Flint this weekend designed to offer help and hope.
Dave Dunville will be there. He lost his left leg to an injury he suffered, in the line of duty, as a firefighter. Dave has three prosthetics - at least that is how many he had with him on Thursday. He uses one to swim, one for Tae-kwan-do, and one for every-day.
He is not about to let anything stop him.
"I've been quite active from the word 'get-go,'" he said.
After he was injured, Dave went through 22 operations, over four years, trying to save his left leg.
"I had a decision to make, fight to keep the leg or get my life back on track and going again. I chose to get my life on track and going again," he said.
In 2003, doctors amputated Dave's leg. Now, he works for Hurley Medical Center's H-Care company, meeting with amputees before and after they lose their limbs.
"It's not just the person losing the limb. It's also the family. Everybody's life changes," he said.
Dave says there are innumerable emotions and questions, all of which he understands, because he has been there.
"I need to be able to sit down with the family and explain how life will be. I need to explain how life will be to the amputee, steps the amputee needs to look at doing," he said.
They are conversations, Dave says, that can make all the difference in how amputees and the people who love them face the future.
"I've helped now, in 10 years, over 2,000 people and they've all said it made a difference. For me, it made a difference when I had someone talk with me prior to my amputation. It made a huge difference. It showed me that life could go on," he said.
If you, or a loved one is facing or has just go through an amputation, or if you want to find support among fellow amputees and their families, there is a Limb Loss Education Day at Hurley Medical Center in Flint. It is this Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is sponsored by The Amputee Coalition and Hurley Medical Center.
For more information, please call 888-267-5669 or visit the Amputee Coalition's web site, HERE