Give ‘Rite Back

Can you believe we are in midst of the Holiday season? And Christmas is all about giving and receiving gifts to your loved ones and maybe even strangers. Let me tell you about Knit-Rite and how we give back.

KR-Xmas-logoMost of you know Knit-Rite as a manufacturing company for quality medical textiles. And that’s true. However, the company is not just focused on making prosthetic socks and compression products. We also value service, which for us includes giving back to our communities. But, we don’t just say it; we live it every day.  As an important principle to our company and its employees, we as a company serve our surrounding communities in a number of ways.

Down the street from the Knit-Rite building in Kansas City, Kansas is a community outreach organization called Cross Lines.  Cross Lines operates a food kitchen to help fill one of the most basic of needs – a warm meal.  We, as Knit-Rite employees, volunteer to work at Cross Lines preparing and serving food to those in need. In just one lunch time meal, we may cook and serve 150 meals to hungry Kansas City families. It is a rewarding and memorable experience that we love and cherish.

During the summer, our employees volunteer to serve meals at a barbecue fundraiser raising money to help Cross Lines in their efforts to feed the hungry throughout the year.

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During the Holiday seasons, we work on our annual Give ‘Rite Back Giving Campaign. Participating in various company events, our employees raise money which is donated to the Cross Lines Christmas Store, allowing needy families to receive clothes, coats, household items and children’s toys for Christmas. On top of that, our employees donate their time to work at the Christmas store.

Our Give ‘Rite Back campaign extends to our Hamlet, North Carolina location as well. In Hamlet, our employees raise money for Our Daily Bread, a food pantry near our plant.

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We are part of these communities, and as part, it is important to us all help meet these basic needs of our neighbors. Our world today is full of hardship, chaos and hate.  But, we know that extending kindness, compassion and generosity to our neighbors goes a long way to making our community and our world a little bit better place.

As the holidays approach, think what inspires you to give back and then act on it. It could be as simple as dropping a few coins into a Salvation Army pot.

Give back and be kind.

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5 Tips to Live my Life as an Amputee!

Being an amputee is not easy but trust me, it is not impossible. To me, every day is a new journey with new obstacles and accomplishments. Since I’ve been an amputee my whole life, I guess I can say that I have little bit of experience on this topic. It definitely has ups and downs, however, I find that these 5 tips help to live my life as an amputee to the fullest.

1. Remember, it will get easier. Whether you were born missing limbs like I was, or you became an amputee later on in life, you can count on one thing: It will get easier. You’ll get used to it and you’ll find that most people are more accepting of your differences. In fact, that difference becomes more and more a part of what makes you you.

different-is-beautiful2. However, remember to give yourself permission to feel what you feel, because being different isn’t always fun. No matter how positive and well-adjusted you are, you’re likely to have moments when you are depressed or just don’t feel like answering questions. Personally, I’ve had plenty of times when I was irritated by people’s ignorance and rude questions. Even today, I still get annoyed, especially at the airport when I have to go through extra screening. I don’t like it when people react to my legs and hands with overflowing pity and apologies. The truth is, it does gets to me sometimes. But I’ve found that I feel a lot better when I talk to my friends or family and just give myself permission to feel sad or frustrated. Those feelings won’t last, and it’s just plain lonely to act like nothing ever bothers you.

3. That leads to your attitude – your attitude will affect how others perceive and treat you. There’s no getting around the stares and questions. People are going to be curious – it is a normal human instinct. However, the more comfortable, relaxed and confident you are with yourself, the more others will feel comfortable around you and treat you with respect. A quick matter-of-fact explanation puts others at ease, and once they know your story, they’re likely to stop focusing on your arm or leg. In fact, once people get to know me, they often “forget” about my legs.

4. It’s okay to be sad, but it is better to laugh when you can. Humor can be one of the greatest gifts for those of us who go through life looking different from other people. If you can crack jokes, and even learn to laugh at yourself, you will make other people feel at ease and find it easier to get through the natural ups and down you’ll face. Humor is a natural mood booster, so when you are laughing, you are enjoying yourself. Besides, you have infinitely more potential for practical jokes than other “normal” people.

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5. Don’t limit yourself, but remember, you have nothing to prove. It may sound corny, but there’s really nothing you can’t do if you’re persistent enough and determined enough. Whether it’s a sport, a hobby or a job you want, there’s a way to make it happen. However, as much as it helps to know you can pursue any activity or sport you want, it can also be exhausting to go through life feeling like you’ve got something to prove. Everyone loves stories about people who win over adversity and do the impossible. But, honestly, there’s nothing you need to do to “make up for” your difference. All you need to do is just be yourself and pursue your own dreams. Who knows, maybe you will inspire others in the process without even trying. As Christopher Reeve said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

All seriousness aside, let’s flex that humor muscle with an amputee joke! “How do you ask a on e-legged person enter your car? Hop in!”

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Meet Chi Chi!

Meet Chi Chi, a three-year old energetic and loving golden retriever. Like many dogs, she likes squeaky toys, carrots and cuddles with her humans. However, this beautiful pup is no ordinary one. Chi Chi is a quadruple amputee who walks on four custom prosthetic legs. And the best part is that she wears Knit-Rite’s prosthetic Soft-Socks®.

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Chi Chi’s story is tragic, but needs to be heard. She was left in a trash bag outside a South Korean dog meat market in early 2016. Her legs had been bound with wire, leaving bones and tissue exposed. The rescue group that found her was going to euthanize her, but had second thoughts after rescuers saw her wagging tail and positive spirit. They decided to amputate all of her legs. Then they gave her the name Chi Chi, after a Christian motivational speaker from Australia, Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs.

According to Humane Society International, an estimated 2.5 million dogs are slaughtered for consumption each year in South Korea. It is the only country worldwide that commercially raises dogs on farms for slaughter.

Fortunately, Chi Chi was lucky enough to find a home soon after she was rescued. After seeing one video of her, Elizabeth and Richard Howell, veteran dog foster parents, couldn’t stop thinking about her. It wasn’t long at all before they flew her 6,000 miles to Arizona, where they welcomed her into their home. Six months later, Chi Chi was fitted with custom prosthetics that allowed her to walk and run.

After a short but traumatic lifetime of abuse, Chi Chi was cautious to interact at first, Howell said. But that changed in a matter of months. Now, the dog freely trusts humans without any fear or risk to her well-being.

Chi Chi, who Howell says is a “blessing every day in our lives,” is also a therapy dog who now regularly visits a veteran’s center, an assisted-living facility and special-needs students at an elementary school. What a remarkable transformation for a dog who was left in a trash bag outside a meat market.

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I love Chi Chi’s story. It reminds me that dogs aren’t judging. They love everyone the same. When I read Chi Chi’s story, I did something that I am against – I felt bad for her. I never do this because ultimately I don’t like when others feel bad for me. I started to think that I bet Chi Chi doesn’t feel bad for herself and probably wouldn’t for me either. She’d probably greet me with a sniff and a big slobbery lick on my face, just like anyone else. This beautiful dog had no value before and now she is invaluable to so many others. I think if Chi Chi can do it, anyone can!

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If you would like to hear more on Chi Chi’s journey, follow her on FB or on Instagram @chichirescuedog.

Tanya

 

**All photos courtesy of Elizabeth Howell

 

 

Happy Giving Thanks!

Happy Giving Thanks!

Today, I’m aware of the fact that life is better than I deserve. The world is full of pain and suffering, hardship and turmoil, disappointment and regret. So the fact that I can be thankful and meanit is, in its own way, a small miracle.

However, I’m learning that there is a responsibility that comes with privilege. I am blessed to bless. I am gifted to give. I am not lucky, fortunate, or merely disciplined; I am expected to do something with the grace I’ve been given. And so are you.

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When I was younger, I didn’t understand gratitude. In a universe that seemed to hurt for no reason, giving thanks felt disingenuous. Living in a world where children die of hunger every day, it just didn’t make sense. But now I understand that being grateful is a choice.

Here’s my challenge to you: Take some time today, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, and choose to come up with a gratitude list. If it doesn’t come naturally, don’t let that stop you from still giving thanks. There is still much to be thankful for, if we only have eyes to see.

And in case you were wondering, here are my 10 reasons to give thanks today:

  1. I am thankful for my health, for being able to run every day and eat turkey dinners.

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2. I am thankful for my husband, who vowed to be my biggest fan on the day we were married and has never once let me down.

3. I am thankful for all of my families. Trust me, I have lots of them. And for the family I married into this year; which includes, my husband, his beautiful daughter and a 17-year-old dog Jr.

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4. I am thankful for the gift and work of writing blogs — that it is both hard and easy at the same time. Easy to do, hard to master. Always frustrating. Always rewarding. And I am thankful for the online community of readers who are making a difference in the world. You guys inspire me. Thank you for always reading and watching my blogs!

5. I am thankful for doing work that matters. I love working for Knit-Rite, not because I always get to wear good quality prosthetic socks. 😉 But for the coworkers, the job and most importantly the idea to help others! We don’t just make socks. We do this with a sense that there’s a little girl or a boy (or anyone) that will feel comfort from wearing our products and be happy with it. Maybe they’ll make a difference in this world someday.

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6. I am thankful that my toes never get cold – because I don’t have any! But in all seriousness, I am thankful for good quality prosthetic legs that allow me to live my life independently. It is something I don’t take for granted.

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7. But that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have the right doctors, prosthetists, physical therapists, occupational therapists. You get the idea! They make magic and I am thankful for them!

8. I am thankful for an ability to give and inspire! I am thankful that there are a lot of people who follow my journey, are inspired by it, and are able to get motivated to do something about it!

9. I am thankful that we still have more good than bad in this world, despite everything that is happening today.

10. I am thankful for vanilla ice cream because it is delicious. Thank you, cows!

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If you read this blog, you have already given me a gift so thank you for that. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Have A Stress Free Holiday Preparation!

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Photo courtesy of momfoodie.com

 

Thanksgiving is in a week which means attending lots of dinner, preparing meals, eating those meals and hanging out with lots of relatives. As fun as the holiday season can be, it can also cause frustration and stress. Trying to attend every holiday gathering, host a party, buy everyone that perfect gift and finish those last minute work projects, can cause stress and put discouragement on the season. And because of stress, you can have a headache, pain and sleep issues. On top of that, it can impact your mood and you can be more angry and irritable. To prevent all of this and have an enjoyable season, here are three tips.


1. Take a breather if you need it and be realistic with yourself. It so easy to get caught on buying and making gifts, attending all of the parties or maintaining your own and cooking that big feast. But you may need to simplify some of the rituals and just make time for yourself. Your loved ones will understand if you can’t participate in all events. That personal breather will allow you not only distress but also clear your mind and restore your inner calm.

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2. Plan ahead. If you are like many people and like to procrastinate, than preparing for holidays can be very stressful. That is why scheduling everything on your calendar and knowing exactly what you need to do and buy can help and prevent you from doing stuff at the last minute. Speaking of last minute gifts, decide what you can afford and stick to that plan. You don’t have to buy expensive gifts to make your loved ones happy. Use your time and money wisely by planning ahead!

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3. Lastly, maintain your healthy habits. Holidays are known for overindulgence and a lack of physical activity which can lead to your stress and guilt. It’s okay to enjoy it but not okay to overdo it. To prevent that, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. Do some physical activity like going on walks. And finally, having healthy snacks before the holiday feast so that you don’t overboard on food and drinks.

Enjoy your last week before busy times come in. Be smart and have fun!

Tanya

Six lesson learned from being an amputee!

The list below contains six lessons I have learned throughout my life as a congenital amputee. However, you don’t need to be an amputee to follow these valuable life lessons. There’s a little bit of something here for everyone.

1. Make every day count. For example, this makes me think of so many incidents where you are doing your favorite things like skiing or running and then one day you lose it all. You find out you have cancer or get in a car accident and you end up losing a body part. It is heartbreaking and you have longing memories of those days when you could ski or run, but you didn’t make it count because you planned to do the same thing again tomorrow. We can never go back and you never know what tomorrow will bring. Find a way to cherish every day and the special moments while they are happening.

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Image courtesy of wordpress.com

 

2. Never take your health for granted. Do everything you can to stay healthy and injury free. But this is life and we aren’t always in control of disease and injury. So, every morning when you wake up, take a minute to appreciate your good health and then make the most of the day.

3. Attitude can be contagious. If someone is inspired to improve their life because of me and my prosthesis, it only inspires me to live my life even better. Choose to have a positive attitude and let it be contagious.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger came to support our team Some Assembly Required.

 

4. Life is so much easier with a sense of humor. I am thankful that my lack of legs hasn’t robbed me of my sense of humor. One of my favorite jokes is when it’s winter time and I wear sandals, I tease and say that my toes never get cold (cause you know, I don’t have any, LOL!)! It gets people to laugh and encourages them to be comfortable around me. A sense of humor can make a big difference in accepting the punches life throws at you.

5. Take notice of those special people who help you along the way. In my life journey, with my prosthesis, I have happened upon some very special people who make a difference just because that is who they are. These are the people who believed in me, helped me, pushed me, encouraged me and never gave up on me and I always tell them thank you because they have done so much for me. Don’t focus on the negative people. Take notice of those who make a difference and find a way to let them know how special they are. Sending someone a thank you for what they have done just might make their day.

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My American families at my wedding!

 

6. Determination goes long way. We live so much of our lives saying “I can’t.” The simplest daily tasks we do every day, without thought, become challenging when experiencing life missing a leg or two. I was fortunate to have the ability to take on the mindset “if it needs doing, I will adapt a way and get it done.” With each successfully-accomplished task, I soon learned that I could do anything. Never say “I can’t” – say I can and get it done.

The point is, everyone struggles with something. Remembering a few of these lessons I’ve learned along the way, might turn your struggles into accomplishments. Continue being awesome!

Tanya

 

 

 

 

Nutrition for Amputees

Healthy lifestyle practices such as daily exercise and getting enough rest are important for everyone, but even more so for prosthetic users. If you are facing a recent amputation, it may be challenging to adjust to this lifestyle where movement is limited and more difficult, and depression more common. However, nutrition can be a powerful ally, helping to fuel you mentally and physically for the challenges of living with an amputation. It is important to make nutrition work for you and you may need to adjust your healthy living practices to your new lifestyle. Here are some suggestions to help keep you eating and performing well.

First of all, determine your calorie needs. One of the biggest adjustments you may need to make after your amputation is your calorie intake. It is important to balance your need for healing with decreased activity and muscle mass. Calorie needs vary depending on where you are in the recovery process, how much activity you are doing, and your current medical issues. Just as with the able-bodied person, calorie needs are individual, and they may vary day to day or month to month.

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Photo courtesy of The New York Times

 

Secondly, a common nutrition issue facing amputees is weight gain. There are many different reasons why you may gain weight after an amputation: less physical activity, depression, side effects of medication, and adjusting to a new lifestyle, including difficulty preparing and shopping for food. It is important to acknowledge that you probably need fewer calories to maintain your weight than you did before your amputation. Choose smaller portions, eat fewer snacks, and cut back on packaged and processed foods to decrease your overall intake.

Also, be mindful of why you eat. Do you reach for food when you’re stressed, upset, or in pain? If so, pause and think about what else you could do: call a friend, do some deep breathing, or get some fresh air. Pay attention to portions. Even if your plate is perfectly balanced, you may be eating more than you need. Take less; you can always go back for more if you are still hungry. Pay attention to your body’s signals that you are full. If you eat slower, you give your body a chance to catch up and provide these signals little closer to real time. And stay hydrated; you can sometimes mistake thirst for hunger. Water is the best source of hydration.

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Photo courtesy of http://www.hprc-online.org

 

Next, the big question is “So, what should I eat then?” Healthy eating for amputees is similar in many ways to healthy eating for able-bodied people. Nutrition is very critical to maintaining a healthy weight, encouraging wound healing, decreasing your risk of chronic disease, and fueling your exercise and recovery. The types of food, combinations of food, and portions all matter. If you have difficulty consuming meals that are balanced and diverse, speak to your healthcare provider, as you may need supplements. My biggest advice is to eat real food or what’s known as “whole foods.” This sounds simple, but it can be difficult when you’re surrounded by convenience food, fast food, and packaged food. Choose unprocessed, whole foods most of the time. Aim for balanced meals, which means you should fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables, a quarter of your plate with protein from lean meats, beans/lentils, or low-fat dairy products, and a quarter with grains and starches that are high in fiber; whole grains are your best bet. Include small portions of heart-healthy fats such as those in fish, olive oil, avocado, and nuts/seeds.

Finally, food preparation plays an important role. The thought of eating a healthy meal may sound good, but does the idea of planning, shopping, and preparing such a meal overwhelm you? The ability to prepare foods may be more difficult after an amputation due to physical barriers, limited time given to medical appointments, and decreased motivation because of depression, pain, and fatigue. The good news is that there are lots of ways to improve your access to healthy food.

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Photo courtesy of http://www.bodypower.com

 

For one, plan ahead. We tend to stick with healthy choices when they are easy and convenient. Plan your meals ahead of time. This way you know you have the ingredients for a healthy, balanced meal at home, and fast food won’t be so tempting. And make a grocery list before you head to the store. It helps you save time and money and curbs impulse buying. On that note, always shop with full stomach. You are more likely to stick to your list and avoid additional impulse buying. Another good idea is to keep nutrient-rich foods on hand. Stock your freezer with frozen fruit, vegetables, and individual cuts of fish, chicken, and lean beef. Fill your pantry with canned beans, packets of tuna, nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter, dried fruit, whole-wheat pasta, and whole grains such as brown rice, and barley. Lastly, cook in batches. When you, family members, or friends do cook, divide the food into individual portions that you can freeze. When you’re low on time or energy to cook, just heat and eat for a quick and healthy meal.

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As mentioned above, weight gain is a common issue for amputees. It can increase your risk of infection, pressure ulcers, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Start healthy habits now by eating real food, balancing your plate and planning ahead.