The Amp’d Story
Our Founder, Richard (Dick) Fuller, became an amputee at age 46 after battling cancer for 7 years. As an amputee later in life, he figured he could make it on his own. With the help of a prosthetist and a physical therapist who taught him how to walk, what else did he need? As Dick explains, his ﬁrst year was okay, but after learning the mobility basics, he muddled through the next 6 or 7 years, slowly meeting people who encouraged him to do more things. It is said that around 70%-80% of amputees don’t go out into their communities very much.
Dick attended the occasional support meeting for a couple of years following his amputation, but he really began to understand the value of a support system when a high school friend became an amputee following an accident. Dick’s goal was to make his friend’s transition to amputee life easier than it had been for him. They started doing things together, becoming more adventurous because they weren’t alone. That push changed Dick’s perspective, and he started volunteering at prosthetic schools, working with physical therapists, and learning about opportunities available to him in the amputee community.
Amp’d on Life was formed in late 2019, to create opportunities where people could ﬁnd a friend in a safe, nurturing environment, to get out in the world and start living life more fully. Dick started talking to other amputee nonprofits who had hand-cycles, kayaks, skis, and other general sports equipment. His desire is to partner with these smaller events in Orange and Los Angeles Counties, spread the word, share their equipment and their opportunities with a larger group of amputees.
Dick’s goal has always been to share the freedom he gained once he had someone, like himself, to venture out into the world and enjoy life. He realized that an opportunity like this could help other amputees become healthier, both mentally and physically, and be more engaged in life.
Amp’d on Life is a group for people who want to enjoy fun things, such as ping pong, lawn bowling, swimming, paddle boarding, a picnic or an afternoon BBQ. Creating an environment where amputees can be social around each other is when real growth happens. Amputees have conversations that others will never relate to. Once you realize that you are not alone, you’ll ﬁnd that hard times will pass and ultimately life will get better.
When you do an activity with other amputees, you immediately have something in common. Whether it’s playing sports or enjoying good food at a BBQ, it gives people the opportunity to form friendships. Dick ﬁrmly believes that “Freedom comes from friendship. The more you push yourself, the better you get at walking, the better you get at mobility, the more freedom you have.”
Amp’d on Life provides opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through recreational athletics and other social events. Amp’d on Life believes that involvement in social activities, be it sports or other events, increase self-esteem, encourage independence and enhance mobility and quality of life.We realize that some people are reluctant to resume activities they enjoyed prior to becoming amputees for a variety of reasons. Through our partnership with other organizations, we will host and coordinate recreational sports clinics and other social activities. Ultimately, our intent is to help amputees find their “freedom” through mobility.
Freedom is different for each of us, but is essential for a person’s wellbeing. It is our hope that we can provide recreational adaptive sport activities in a safe and welcoming environment where amputees and their families would feel encouraged to try new activities and have fun. The goal is not to be perfect, but to enjoy the adventure and make some new friends.