In 1977, Ryan Haack was born missing his left forearm and it wasn’t until just a few years ago, he realized there were other people just like him out there in the world. He decided to start a blog with the hopes of sharing his experiences and helping others in the same situations.
Now, besides his very successful blog – he ran a successful Kckstarter campaign to create a children’s book titled “Different Is Awesome” and has a wonderful Youtube channel where he makes various instruction videos to teach people how to do things one handed! You can also check out his facebook page and a twitter account!
We are excited to finally get to meet Ryan next week when he joins us at our “Prosthetists Meets Printers” e-NABLE conference at Johns Hopkins Medical in Baltimore, MD on September 28th, 2014!
He was kind enough to be our guest blogger today to share his thoughts on e-NABLE and the event we have planned.
Read his entry below.
I haven’t worn any kind of prosthetic arm in over twenty years.
So, why am I going to the e-NABLE seminar in Baltimore?
First of all, I’m intrigued. I love gadgets and gizmos and these hands look so cool! I’ve had the opportunity to see one of them in-person (my friend Sam’s), but I’m excited to see the full array of options that are on display. I’d actually like to try one myself, just to see what it’s like. I did wear several different kinds of prosthetics while growing-up, too, so it’ll be kind of a blast-from-the-past, but in the future – if that makes sense. I want to see one being printed and then constructed, too. I want to see families learning how to do it together. I want to see the smiles on their faces as their child tries it on and flexes it for the first time. I want to meet these families and hear their stories. I want to see lives changed.
No big deal.
Secondly, I’m going because it’s important. The goal, as I understand it, is to connect the brilliant minds behind these devices with health care professionals and to explore how they can work together. Having worked in the health insurance industry going on a decade, I have first-hand experience (so to speak) with the financial and accessibility challenges inherent in trying to obtain any kind of prosthetic device. That’s what’s so exciting about this! These devices are affordable, accessible and adaptable. A user can work directly with the creator to enhance the function, fit and look of any device. And we’re still in the very beginning stages! Change in the health care industry comes slowly – if at all – so the fact that this is happening and that The US Department of Health – National Institutes of Health (NIH) and leading trauma surgeons from world-renowned hospitals are attending is incredible. I don’t believe I’m overstating it when I say that this will be a seminal moment in time for the future of prosthetics worldwide.
Lastly, I believe these devices are going to change the world and I want to be a part of that. Who am I kidding – they’ve already changed the world! Havingbeen to Haiti twice, I’ve seen the global need these devices can and will meet. I’ve also seen the response within the LivingOneHanded.com community and feel a deep responsibility to experience and share this information with them. I hear from LOHers who live all over the planet, so to be involved in something so globally unifying is awesome.
One more thing here. Some, albeit few, have suggested that providing your child with a prosthetic device tells them that they are not whole without it; that they are lacking. I don’t believe this to be the case at all. Prosthetics are tools. Just as I need a hammer to pound a nail, a prosthetic can be the tool thatenables someone do any number of tasks more efficiently or, in some cases, at all! It’s our responsibility as parents to present them this way to our children so they understand that they are beautiful and complete without it and that the device is only there to help.
I’m excited to see these tools up close and to meet you if you can attend!