2017 Endeavor Games

It’s been over a week since the Endeavor Games took place in Edmund Oklahoma. For those who don’t know, Endeavor Games are competitions for athletes of all ages with physical disabilities. These games are great opportunities to display their talents in a proper and competitive setting against all individuals with similar disabilities.

This year, Knit-Rite was a sponsor for the Endeavor Games, and maintained a booth to display our products. We introduced a few of our items to athletes who were competing as well as their parents and friends.

 

Introducing our products, such as prosthetic Soft Socks, to parents of young amputee athletes was satisfying, because I witnessed them recognizing that we are able to meet their child’s needs. We also had a few parents and kids who recognized our products and were thanking Knit-Rite for our high quality socks. It is always rewarding to work for a company that does quality products and hearing it from others.

In addition to being a representative for Knit-Rite, I also got a chance to be one of the athletes at the games. I participated in 100m, 200m and 400m sprints and table tennis. The past year and a half, I‘ve been running long distance races (5k and more) with non-adaptive athletes. I am used being a curiosity for other runners and as a result, I am often starred at, which is a natural human instinct. Since the Endeavor Games focuses on athletes with various physical disabilities, I was honored to complete with athletes just like me. It was awesome! I didn’t feel like I was judged or looked at all the time because we all had differences. There were no questions or staring. Instead, there was a competition and lots of love and support.

A few of my favorite things at the Endeavor Games, was seeing a 2-year-old girl sprinting a 60m race on her tiny little prosthetic leg, and an older gentleman sprinting his first race since he lost his limb. It’s overwhelming yet very rewarding. We take things for granted every single day. Those athletes didn’t have an excuse to complain, instead they had an excuse to show others why they wanted to compete.

19029339_1496189520448617_1228125538400520126_n

I finished the week with some table tennis game. This was a fun addition to my experience to the Endeavor Games because it was a little bit of nostalgia. I used play this sport competitively back home in Belarus as a child. The experience showed me that I was able to pick my childhood skills that I developed along the way and use them for fun and competitions in the games. The best part was making new friends and new memories.

19029347_1497152867018949_8248841587668979527_n

It was a wonderful event full of positivity, hugs, smiles, encouragement and no judgment! It was an honor to be there as Knit-Rite’s representative and introduce our amazing products to everyone. It was also a pleasure to be there as an athlete and compete against those who are on the same level as me. I can’t wait to go back next year and make new memories, meet new friends, compete and introduce even more people to Knit-Rite. See you next year at the Endeavor Games!

Check out more at the Endeavor Games Photo Gallery.

Managing Limb Loss Grief

Every time we lose someone or something, we experience a grieving process. When most people think of grieving and loss, it is usually in regards to a person. However, it is significantly difficult when it comes to losing your own limb. Many of the stages of grief are similar to the grief of losing a person.

What are the signs and symptoms of grief?

Many times it is loss of appetite, lack of energy, poor concentration, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, sleeplessness, and feeling hopeless or worthless.

Image courtesy of anankkml at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to overcome grief?

One of the most important things to do is to get rest and eat well. That means limiting sugar. Sugar will give you a quick bursts of energy, but the energy level is just as quickly lost. In other words, you will experience high and lows in quick succession. Having healthy eating habits will not just improve your mood, but will also improve your overall inner well-being.

Exercise releases endorphins, a natural mood booster. Being involved in physical and recreational exercise is a great way to help overcome your grief and learn to adapt to the everyday world.

Emotionally, remember that you are not alone and you are not to blame. Talk to your loved ones and tell them that you are experiencing grief – be honest! They are there to love you and support you! Remember, people want to help you but often don’t know what to do to support you. So don’t be afraid to ask! Again, be honest!

Laughter is a great healer of grief and depression. Do things every day to have fun and find the humor in everyday life.

Forgive yourself or others – don’t judge. Learn to think of yourself in a different way. Finally, focus on emphasizing your best features versus focusing on the loss.

Amputation is an enormous loss and learning to adjust is a long process – so be kind and gentle to yourself. The main goal is to not isolate yourself from people, especially those who are wanting to help you! Always remember, you are much more than physical experience.

If the grief becomes an overwhelming depression and changes are occurring, contact a support group or simply get professional help. Below are some valuable resources to help you manage grief and depression:

Suicide Prevention Life Line

Amputee Coalition

Find a Support Group in Your Area

Mental Heath America

Additional Information About Depression

Sincerely,
Tanya

 

 

Amputee tips for summer heat!

It’s almost summer time which means it is time for heat and humidity. If you are like me and love to run and stay outside, chances are you will be sweating a lot – and if you wear prosthesis, it will be extra uncomfortable. Here are some useful tips to keep you moving this summer.

  • Check that your gel liner is fitting properly. If it’s loose fitting, it’s more likely to have sweat pool around your skin.
  • Stop moving about if you feel your skin chafing. Remove your prosthesis and wipe it down with a wash cloth. Excessive sweating in a prosthesis can cause your skin to break down and produce uncomfortable rashes.
  • If you have a below-the-knee amputation, wear a sweat band just above the gel liner or suspension sleeve. This will help catch some of the sweat. Athletic socks, which are meant to wick off sweat, also work well for this.
  • If you are a new amputee, try walking it out. Your residual limb will sweat more than the rest of your body during the first few months of use, but as you get used to it, you may begin to sweat less.
  • Wear a Liner-Liner Prosthetic sock with X-static designed by Knit-Rite under a suspension liner next to the skin. It will relieve skin shear irritations and improve comfort with liners. Liner-Liner has X-Static silver fibers that inhibit odor in the sock and transport heat and moisture away from the limb. Washable interface keeps liner cleaner and helps control skin irritations.
  • Check with your prosthetist. Your prosthetist and physician can help you determine the best solution for beating the summer heat.

Don’t let sweat hold you back from enjoying a fun, active summer.

How to talk to kids about special needs!

It is easy for us to be uncomfortable around people or situations that are “different.” Often we think it best to pretend the disparities don’t exist, but this doesn’t serve anyone well.

So how do we talk to kids about people with special needs?!

1. Kids with disabilities are also the same as other kids.

In fact, the same can be said for adults. Talk to your child about things he/she and the child with special needs have in common: Do they both have eyes, hair, and hands? What about things you can’t necessarily see? Do you think that little boy/girl has feelings? What do you think he/she likes to play? Some children and adults may have a disability, but they don’t want to be completely defined by it.

SmartKnit AFO socks

2. People with special needs or disabilities are not necessarily sick.

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with the right vocabulary to tell your kids about special needs. Let me gently suggest avoiding the words “sick”—as in “That boy has a sickness that makes it harder for him to talk to people.” Some people are born with special needs, and other disabilities happen as the result of an accident or previous illness. The disability itself, though, is not a sickness or something bad. Nor is it something other kids can “catch” — an important distinction to make when explaining disabilities to children.

3. Words matter.

Name calling and jokes at another person’s expense (whether or not that person has a disability) is not acceptable. In fact, words like “retarded” are extremely hurtful, whether you are using them as a direct slur at a child with special needs or using it as slang. It’s Okay to teach children the right words to talk about our differences: disability, special needs, even the names of specific disabilities, like Down syndrome and Autism. In addition to words like “sick” and” wrong,” try to replace the word “normal” with “typical”—as in, ”A typical child might walk at 12 months old, but Joey didn’t walk until he was almost 3 years old.” We know our kids are different, but comparing them to “normal” kids just makes us feel like you’re calling them “weird” or “bad.”

SmartKnitKIDS Sensitivity Socks

4. It’s OK to ask questions.

Kids are naturally curious, and that is wonderful! Don’t feel like you have to shush a child who asks questions about disabilities. If you don’t know the answer, that’s Okay too! Don’t put all of the pressure on yourself, but feel free to pass the questions on to the child’s parent. After all, it’s no secret that moms love to talk about their children. Please ask us. We would love to help bridge the gap between our kids and yours.

Everyone has something that makes them different! Some are just not as obvious as others! Celebrate our differences with kindness and acceptance!

 

Fun DIY Sock Bouquets!

As both a Mom and a Daughter, I completely believe in homemade Mother’s Day gifts.  I love getting these sweet gifts from my kiddos and I totally love giving them to my mom and my mother-in-law.  Sometimes the creativity is just not flowing, though, and I look all around for new ideas.  This year the Knit-Rite/Therafirm team got some inspiration from our own products.  The best part is, we were able to use products from several of our brands to create these adorable sock bouquets.  They’re cute and easy enough for the kiddos to do, too.  Watch our demonstration video below!

List of Supplies Needed:

• Socks of multiple colors, shapes and sizes
• A pair of tights, pantyhose or a piece of fabric of similar size and length
• Rubber bands
• Safety pins
• Your favorite vase

We used some discontinued colors of our Preggers and Therafirm brands, as well as current colors of TheraSport, SmartKnitKIDS, SmartKnit and Therafirm.  Happy bouquet making!

National Limb Loss Awareness Month!

April is a National Limb Loss Awareness Month!

There are people living with limb loss around us every day, many more than we realize. They live full and active lives.

What is Limb Loss?

Limb Loss is the loss of all or part of an arm or leg due to trauma, infection, diabetes, heart disease, cancer or other diseases and accidents.

According to the Amputee Coalition of America, there are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States, and more than 500 Americans will lose a limb each day. Among those living with limb loss, the main causes are vascular disease – including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease – trauma and cancer. Sadly, nearly half of the individuals who have an amputation due to vascular disease will die within 5 years. This is higher than the five-year mortality rates for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Why recognize Limb Loss Awareness Month?

National Limb Loss Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the limb loss community, and the various causes – both accidental and medical – of limb loss.

But, it is also a great opportunity to empower people affected by limb loss to live full and active lives and to achieve their full potential.

Have a wonderful month and check back with us for more information.

Tanya

 

 

…3 Days Post The Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

17203008_1619731398042207_1201599846112372252_n

Here I am before the race all smiles!

 

Last weekend I was honored to run the Liberty Half-Marathon. It was my first time running this race, but I now have my 5th half-marathon overall in the books! It was a heck of a race – from lots of hills to even stronger winds! Gotta love Missouri and its weather! Hills are never my favorite and I knew this was going to be a hilly run. However, I did not expect to have all the wind and attempting to run up the hill against the wind. It was definitely a challenge and an excellent mental workout!

DSC_1980

Mid-Point of the race starting to struggle a little.

 

At mile 6, I started doubting myself; I am hurting, struggling with this wind and I am barely halfway there! Part of me wanted to say “I hate running!” or maybe I was just getting hangry! I asked myself, “Why am I doing this to myself, forcing my body to do something that not many blade runners are capable of doing! There is a reason why there are only a few long distance runners who wear 2 prosthetic legs.” As I was walking-running, I got a thumbs up from a stranger, and a “you got this” from another stranger. I started getting my positive energy back and boom, I was at mile 8! It is amazing how I am usually the one who encourages others, but this time it was others encouraging me and giving me that boost of energy that I was lacking in this run. As I came to the last mile, I had a friend of mine pushing me along until the end! My back was in so much pain, my hips and legs didn’t want to run anymore – but my mind just wanted to be done with this race! What I am trying to say is, having positive runners around you is important! 
I didn’t PR in this race – but it was not my worst time! I would consider this to be one of my hardest races I’ve ever done, but I would gladly do it again because it challenged my mind more than my body! We forget that we are capable of so much more!

IMG_4258

Finally finishing the race.

 

In a month I am doing my first ever marathon – the St. Louis Marathon! Doing the Liberty Half Marathon was my way to prepare for a full marathon! From what I’ve heard, the St. Louis Marathon is nowhere near as hilly as the Liberty Half-Marathon. However, it is a full marathon, so there will be more mental training! In the next month, I’ll be increasing my running mileage, improving my nutrition and continue lifting. I am so nervous but super excited! I’ve dreamed of doing a full marathon for more than 4 years now and I’ll be doing it in just one month!

17191005_1619731394708874_8310486005515248628_n

Knit-Rite/TheraSport was a Silver Sponsor at the race.

 

Huge shot out to Liberty Hospital Half Marathon for a wonderful organized race. Thank you to Knit-Rite for your support, Doyle, my prosthetist at Decker IO&P for always making sure my legs are ready to run, Dr. Jim from Fit Muscle and Joint Clinic for making sure my body is in place, and finally, my family, friends and everyone else for all of your patience with me and my crazy running journey!

St. Louis Marathon, I’m coming for you!