Nicole Ver Kuilen is biking, running and swimming the West Coast to highlight the need for access to prosthetic care. Nicole’s journey is inspiring – and is also a chance to share stories about barriers that prevent people from getting the care they need. Whether the barrier is having sufficient insurance coverage, getting devices that fit individual needs, cost, or another challenge, getting prosthetic care is critical to living well with limb loss.
The Amputee Coalition mission to empower people affected by limb loss includes addressing challenges in obtaining care. Using tools housed on AmplifyYourself.org, we help people reinforce that no is not an answer.
Throughout Nicole’s journey, we will be sharing updates on amputee-coalition.org and on our social media sites. Her story highlights the need for connecting care decisions with real-life experiences. Please join us in cheering her on!
Athlete Amputee Begins 1,500 Mile Triathlon Down West Coast For Amputee Rights.
BOTHELL, Wash. – Aug. 31, 2017 –
Running, biking, and swimming down the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego, Nicole Ver Kuilen, who lost her leg to osteosarcoma at age 10, embarks on a journey to raise awareness on the problems amputees face in America.
There are 2 million amputee Americans and for many of them, prosthetics are prohibitively expensive, costing $5,000 – $150,000 and only lasting 3-5 years. In many cases, insurance will only cover a percentage of costs incurred by amputees.
Nicole’s leg is only designed for walking and light jogging. Her request for additional prosthetic devices, such as a running blade, has been denied again and again by insurance companies.
Not having appropriate prosthetic devices will not only lead to an immobile lifestyle but can also
cause irreversible health issues. The technology exists to prevent such problems; “Activity-specific” prosthetics like Oscar Pistorius’ running blades or Amy Purdy’s snowboarding legs are incredible solutions, yet are out of reach for most amputees.
Major companies have started to show support for the FORREST STUMP mission: Endolite has donated a replacement prosthetic for Nicole and nationally recognized Specialized Bicycles has donated over $1,000 worth of gear to Nicole and her team, demonstrating a shared values in this pursuit of change.
Through FORREST STUMP, Nicole hopes to be a voice for change and to raise awareness about the barriers that limit access to prosthetic technology. Along the way she will be raising money and advocating for legislative changes affecting health care coverage for prosthetic devices.
Nicole and the Forrest Stump team will be ending their journey by competing in the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge, hosted by the Challenged Athletes Foundation on October 22nd, 2017.
Will Nicole’s $15,000 leg survive the 1,500 mile journey?