Right as Washington state went into lockdown, I received some really exciting news. I have been selected for the ROMP 2020 Elite Team to climb Cotopaxi and some other Ecuadorean volcanoes in September. I want to outline here what that means and talk more about this exciting endeavor.
The Range of Motion Project is a non-profit with a cause that is very close to my heart. ROMP, which runs entirely on donations, provides prosthetic care to amputees without access in Ecuador and Guatemala. A stunning statistic from the W.H.O. is that more than 9/10 amputees in the developing world do not have access to prosthetic care. Growing up in a modern healthcare system, this fact is very hard for me to process. It’s hard to imagine, and it also lays bare yet another of the many privileges I have been granted being born in the right country, at the right time, with the right complexion.
Every year a team of amputees and non-amputees get together in Ecuador and climb mountains. While doing this they are able to raise money to support ROMP and their patients, as well as bring needed visibility to this issue and set an example of what humans are capable of when empowered with mobility. ROMP believes that amputees are not disabled by a missing limb, but by a missing prosthesis.
Receiving this news in quarantine was bittersweet. This is a goal I’ve been very much looking forward to diving into this year, but at the same time there is so much uncertainty right now about travel, and the difficulty of fundraising in a financially difficult time. We’ve Zoomed together as a team a couple of times now, and while we know we may not be climbing Cotopaxi in September, we are aware of how important our fundraising is for the ROMP mission. The world may be shut down right now, but the need for prosthetic care for amputees is not.
When I think about my own experiences during this quarantine period, one of the surest ways for me to alleviate my own insanity is to get out of the house. This looks like long walks in the sunshine, or bike rides along the waterfront. I think this time in our lives has caused most of us to lose mobility in some form; our movement is restricted, and we are experiencing confinement. When the curtain lifts and we can move freely again, we’ll think back to this as a kind of blip on the radar. For some, this type of confinement is not temporary. Your donation to ROMP can help some of those people move around again, or maybe even move around for the first time ever.
I’m asking for your donation today, and will be doing so regularly for the next few months. I’ve set a lofty goal of fundraising $5,000 to empower roughly five other amputees to gain mobility with a prosthetic. With the world closed, this fundraising is much more difficult. If you can give, I really do ask that you give generously. If you can’t give, that’s cool too and thank you for reading this; maybe you could do me a solid and share this with your friends and family.