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Fishing for friends
by AMANDA WINTERS
It wasn’t a typical Memorial Day weekend fishing trip in Dungeness Bay.
For four men from the Puget Sound region it was the opportunity to spend time with others who understood what they were going through — what it is like to be an amputee.
The fishing trip, through a new local nonprofit called the Northwest Amputee Foundation, was a success despite the fact the participants didn’t catch any fish, Chris Harris said.
Harris, of Sequim, lost his leg in 1998 and started the foundation in November 2010. He stresses the importance of getting support, encouragement and companionship from other amputees and hopes the foundation can help facilitate more interactions.
Often amputees deal with pain management and depression issues unique to their situation, he said.
“A lot of them deal with some depression,” he said. “Losing a leg limits what you can do compared to what you could do (before).”
The four men who took the fishing trip, all from the Puget Sound region, shared advice with each other on how they deal. Forming such friendships is important, Harris said.
The nine-hour excursion with Venture Charters was funded by the foundation, which operates on donations, and relied heavily on volunteer support, Harris said. Volunteers drove the participants to John Wayne Marina and packed coolers with food and beverages.
Davidson Prosthetics, in Puyallup, and Cornerstone Prosthetics, which has multiple locations, service a lot of amputees in the Western Washington region and connected the participants with Harris, he said.
Greg Davidson, of Davidson Prosthetics, serves on the Northwest Amputee Foundation’s board of directors and said through his work his patients have become his friends.
Davidson said he has known Harris for years and both enjoy facilitating activities for amputees. A certified prosthetist-orthotist since 1995, Davidson teaches amputee ski-biking during the ski season, sailing and mountaineering when it is warmer, and hosts a popular monthly amputee meeting at his home.
“There’s a lot of young amputees I work with and it brings them together and connects them so they feel like they’re part of an extended family,” Davidson said.
Harris said the foundation has enough money from donations to host one more amputee excursion this summer.
For more information, e-mail Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org