I cut my leg off to make this trip. It's true.
In 2012, I was training for Mt. Rainier. More than a decade earlier, a cycling crash had destroyed my foot and ankle. Surgeries left the hind- and mid-foot fused. "My ballet career is over," I would joke. I could no longer tolerate climbing shoes, but I still had a set of boots.
I picked my dates and sent my money. I joined CrossFit. I started to run again. I put on a pack and hiked the hills near my home.
It came back, quietly at first. Just a little ache in the morning. After a run, I'd jam the foot in ice. After several weeks it started to scream.
She pointed. "These are tiny fractures around that hardware. The midfoot is collapsing. You need to get off it. And you need to stop running." Mt. Rainier? "I wouldn't recommend it," she said. In the years that followed, I searched for a solution.
"Have you considered amputation?" Dr. Hahn asked. Yes, for over a decade. I even asked once, only to be shamed by a surgeon who scoffed at the notion. But now I could reclaim my life. Or was it too late? I started planning. I had the words "cut here" tattooed below my knee. On June 27, 2017, I had my left leg amputated below the knee.
A year later, we celebrated my "ampuversary" by joining ROMP on an ascent of Mt. Bierstadt. Now we've set our sites higher.
2019 is the 5th annual global Climbing for ROMP event. And we are thrilled to be joining their Elite Team in Ecuador. #MENOPAUSEMOUNTAINEERS4MOBILITY, Baby!
The Elite Team includes both amputee (like Julie!) and non-amputee (like Pam!) athletes. We will embark on a 10-day expedition in the Ecuadorian Andes including a high altitude acclimation process including two volcanoes (Ruco Pichincha–15’638 ft and Rumiñahui–15’651 ft), and culminating with an attempt at the summit of Cotopaxi (19,347ft), the second tallest peak in Ecuador.
Our goal is to prove that amputees are not disabled by a missing limb but by a missing prosthesis.
ROMP provides high quality prosthetic care in underserved populations, which enhances mobility and unlocks human potential. We know that if you have access to the right technology, no summit is too far.
#WHATSYOURMOUNTAIN #CLIMBING4ROMP #WHYWECLIMB #MOBILITYFORALL