Limbs 4 Life helps local amputees

HELPING: Liz Healey has been a Limbs 4 Life peer support volunteer for seven years to give other amputees the same support she received.

HELPING: Liz Healey has been a Limbs 4 Life peer support volunteer for seven years to give other amputees the same support she received.

Limbs 4 Life has been providing information and support to local amputees and their families since 2008 and the organisation now wants to establish a support group for Eyre Peninsula amputees. 

The Limbs 4 Life peer support program matches individuals pre or post amputation in hospitals and rehabilitation centres with a trained peer support volunteer based on age, gender, reason for amputation, site of amputation and personal interests. 

Port Lincoln resident Elizabeth Healey had her leg amputated above the knee in 2010 and said her social worker put her in touch with Limbs 4 Life.

She has been volunteering with the organisation ever since. 

She is the only trained peer support volunteer in Port Lincoln and said volunteering was rewarding and there were moments of satisfaction after helping a fellow amputee through one of the toughest times of their life. 

I wanted to give others the same support I had.

Limbs 4 Life volunteer Elizabeth Healey

“I wanted to give others the same support I had,” she said. 

Mrs Healey said there were quite a few amputees in the Port Lincoln and wider Eyre Peninsula community and it would be great if they could get together regularly. 

“I get in touch with new amputees and really just support them and provide a listening ear,” she said.

“We really have to reinvent ourselves and become comfortable with our new life and regain independence.”

Mrs Healey said establishing a support group for Eyre Peninsula amputees would add another dimension of support. 

She said it was difficult for amputees to re-enter society as they had a whole new set of challenges to deal with like where to park, what had disabled access and if disabled toilets were available. 

Limbs 4 Life peer support program manager Kylie Franson said peer support volunteers had a personal experience of limb loss, understood people who had undergone a limb amputation, were good listeners, had regained their independence and had a desire to help others in their transition during a challenging time.

Ms Franson said program volunteers visited people in Adelaide before they head back to regional South Australia.

“Unfortunately, due to the rise in diabetic related amputations, there is a growing need for our service and our volunteers are kept quite busy,” she said.