Support for youth with limb deficiency and their families to be rolled out nationally

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Children with limb deficiency and their families will no longer be a forgotten age group of amputees with the national expansion of our funding partner, Limbs 4 Life's unique program that alleviates the challenges associated with limb loss.

With our ongoing funding, the one-of-a kind Carers, Children and Youth program is set to become available to all Australian children or young adults who undergo limb amputation or are born with limb difference, along with their families and carers.

The age-specific, targeted program provides access to valuable support services and information to empower children and their families to deal with their limb difference.

Each year approximately 100 Australian children are born with limb deficiency while a further 100 children face amputations due to cancer, infection and trauma-related causes. In addition, Australia has the second highest rate of diabetic amputations in the developed world making organisations like Limbs 4 Life an important resource for amputees and their families to be able to access information and support.

Teenager, Sarah Walsh, wishes that such a program was available for her when growing up. A symes amputee who had her foot amputated at just 18 months old, the 16 year-old Paralympic athlete hopeful says that peer support programs are an invaluable tool for young people living with limb loss.

"Sometimes we need help, not from the people closest to us but from those who have bravely taken on the challenge of living with alimb loss. When I was growing up it would have been amazing to be able to talk to someone who was growing up missing a leg," 

"Peer support helps immensely, they might have worked out a way to deal with certain situations or know the way someone else is feeling. It's a great way to share their understanding with other people who are going through the same thing they went through."

The positive outcomes the program delivered over the first two years prompted the foundation to continue our support.

Research conducted by Monash University has shown that this program is an effective model for promoting the health, wellbeing and social inclusion of children living with limb loss.

Our ongoing funding support will now see the program extended across Australia. It will help prevent social isolation, build resilience and develop confidence in these young people and their families by connecting them with a supportive organisation and communities of people in similar situations.

In addition, the program will also be conducted online through the development of a dedicated website, online forum, webinars and podcasts to facilitate greater interaction between families.

The new program will be available from May 2015. Find out more about the program here