Hello, my name is Brian; I am one of the mentors for I-CAN. I first found out about I-CAN when searching for information on amputee. Up to that point, I had lived in a rural area in Pennsylvania where a very large majority of the amputee population was elderly and/or diabetic. There were no resources to work with, either for meeting other amputees my age, or to do any mentoring. Finding this group gave me the outlet I’d been looking for, so I could help others from my own experiences.

When I was 5 years old, bone cancer was found just above my left knee, which necessitated a mid-thigh amputation. After undergoing chemotherapy for some time, I was fitted for a prosthesis, and haven’t slowed down since. When I was 7, about two years after getting a prosthesis, I wanted to sign up to play Little League baseball. Some parents of other kids spoke out that I shouldn’t be allowed to play, but my parents, as they always did in raising me, encouraged me to give it my best. I made the team, and played just as well as many of the other kids. Over the years, I continued to be active, and have played many sports, including full-contact football with my friends. My doctors nicknamed me the “million dollar kid”, because of all of my medical bills, plus with the damage I’d do to my prosthesis playing sports.

Because I lost my leg at age 5, I feel as though I’ve basically lived my entire life without my leg, as I have very little memory of anything prior. However, I also had to learn to adapt socially to the stares and comments of other people, especially curious kids, which I would usually respond politely with the truth. But, in other times where I was being asked repeatedly, or was just not in the mood to talk about it, I’d make up some horror story to stop their questioning. For any parent that is concerned about how their child will handle those situations, don’t worry. Children tend to handle those questions quite well, and when other kids see that it’s not a big issue to the child, it won’t be an issue to them either.

For any parents, just remember that there is no such thing as a dumb question. There are so many things that parents just naturally worry about, and answering questions on those issues is what we’re all here for 🙂