KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — In honor of Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month, the City of Kenwood is partnering with Hanger Clinic to host the fourth Limb Loss Awareness 5K on Saturday.
“I think it’s really important to bring awareness just because there’s such, almost a stigma about amputees and that we can’t do everything, but we very much are able to do everything,” Beth Lowman said. “There’s just the misunderstanding of different reasons why people get amputations.”
Six years ago, Lowman developed a condition called dystonia and lost the ability to use her right foot and ankle.
“After a lot of different treatments, I kept advocating to have my leg amputated,” Lowman explained. “With dystonia, you literally lose all ability to move so I couldn’t move my toes, couldn’t move my foot, couldn’t move my ankle. And so I knew that I could get around better and with less pain with the amputation. And so my doctors finally agreed, and we went forward with that process.”
In February 2020, she had her left leg amputated. Less than a year later she developed dystonia on the right side and again advocated to have her leg amputated.
“In a year and a half, I lost both legs but I’m moving around better now than I did prior to the amputation,” Lowman said.
She is still able to walk thanks to the help of custom prosthetics from Hanger Clinic. She is now using her experiences to educate others about limb loss.
“This hasn’t slowed me down and this has allowed me to have more of a full life,” she said.
This is the second year Lowman has participated in the Limb Loss Awareness 5K. This year she was asked to be the master of ceremonies.
“It’s a chance for all of us to get together and just to celebrate differences and also just to raise awareness,” Lowman said.
“We have other 5Ks that are fun for the community – you know, people enjoy them – but this one has a special place,” said Spencer McKellar, lead recreation program coordinator for the city of Kentwood. “We have a great adaptive program and that was a way to expand that and continue to raise awareness.”
Since its inception, the Limb Loss Awareness 5K has brought in more than $35,000 for the city’s adaptive program. This year alone, the event generated a record breaking $20,000.
The 5K will start and end at Bowen Station Park at 10 a.m. Saturday. Packet pick-up will start one hour prior.
All profits will go towards improving and creating more programs for people with disabilities. All abilities are welcome to participate and there will also be a 1-mile fun run for kids. You can find more information and register here.