Written by: Kendra Walker
Kendra joined the ROMP team in summer 2018 as the PR, Marketing & Events Coordinator, helping to share ROMP’s mission and successes with national media and the global community. She is an avid rock climber, skier, and overall outdoor adventure enthusiast. She is grateful that her mobility allows her to interact so closely with the outdoors, and she is passionate about helping those with disabilities experience the same.
When I ﬁrst encountered ROMP, my love for outdoor adventures was at an all-time high. I was climbing harder routes, running faster, skiing more advanced backcountry terrain, taking my overall ﬁtness to the next level. Growing up in Colorado, I’ve always loved exploring the outdoors, but I was ﬁnally pleased with my physical ability to attack more challenging goals and missions. Then I found myself watching La Cumbre during an unsuspecting Thursday evening happy hour event, my ﬁrst introduction to ROMP. All the feels came out that night – inspiration, guilt, motivation, sadness, hope. Here I was, all limbs safely intact, watching a patient’s journey – from losing a limb, to receiving a prosthesis, to rehab and training, to climbing a mountain for the ﬁrst time in their life.
What resonated with me the most is that a physical disability is something that could aﬀect any one of us, it does not discriminate. I too could lose a limb and become an amputee at any time. And I realized how much I rely on my body and mobility not only to experience the outdoor adventures I love so much, but also just to wake up, get out of bed every morning, and live.
My love for outdoor adventures is still at an all-time high, but what’s changed since joining ROMP is my gratitude for my mobility every time I chalk up my hands before a climb, or buckle up my ski boots at the top of a ski hill. My mobility allows me to explore and interact with the outdoors – instead of just looking at a beautiful mountain, I can climb it for a new perspective and experience its grandeur with a sense of physical and mental accomplishment. My hope is that everyone, disability or none, can feel empowered to experience that new perspective and sense of accomplishment ﬁrsthand.
ROMP is making that a reality and proving that amputees are not disabled by a missing limb, only by a missing prosthesis. Mobility gives you empowerment and it’s a privilege to belong to an organization dedicated to making mobility a priority for all. As part of the ROMP team, I’ve watched people of all abilities come together to climb mountains of all sizes and savor the elements that allowed them to make that possible. Whatever your mountain may be, I hope you do the same.
What’s your mountain? Consider combining ROMP into your training goals and help us get our patients the care they need. Start a Moving for ROMP campaign today!