September 28, 2020
Reflecting on my time as a Board Member
Author: Catharine Carroll
My favorite A Leg to Stand On moment in the last 18 ½ years is the second time I went to Ahmedabad, Gujarat with co-Founders Mead Wells and Dr. Dinesh Patel. The second time I went, I witnessed the impact of the work ALTSO does in the world. When I reconnected with children I had met the first trip, I could see how much more confident they were. I could see that their fear had been replaced with possibility. They stopped identifying as patients and started identifying as kids, just like all the other kids in their communities.
The effects of little to no access to health care in the developing world run deeper than just the disability.
It’s hard to put into words the impact of this work. Many limb disabilities in the developing world go unaddressed. I think it’s because many of the remote villages don’t have the resources or the specialization to treat limb disabilities, and these kids find ways to make do. Making do, however, may mean not going to school which requires considerable walking. Making do may mean not having the agility to escape from danger. Making do may mean not building the skills to provide for themselves or their families in adulthood. Making do can mean ostracization from the community.
As we approach our 20th year, it’s clear that A Leg to Stand On gives these CoolKids a chance to do better than making do. ALTSO enables them to make it. They get an education, they get jobs, they get married. They make it in life.
Life changing medical treatments are so much more than just "a good cause."
Seeing how much these kids changed between trips changed my entire outlook on this work. Before that trip, I wrote checks thinking “oh, that sounds like a good cause.” Now I know that my donation changes kids’ lives. Every $250 means someone else gets a prosthetic leg, someone else gets a chance to learn, someone else gets a chance to grow up and help others make it in the world.
As the COVID-19 pandemic slows my pace of living, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the good fortune in my life. I’m especially grateful for my mobility and independence which is easy to take for granted. With ALTSO, I can share my good fortune, and that’s a world I want to find post-pandemic…a world where we all simply help each other make it in life.