40 year amputee says you can live a full and active life - News 11's Arlette Yousif reports
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma's Floyd Hern lost one of his legs more than 40 years ago is reaching out to others who are in the same situation. Helping locals through amputation before and after losing a limb.
Hern says support groups are vital for amputees, and their family and friends, to overcome their transition into a drastically different life.
After accidentally being shot in the back at the age of 10, Hern became a paraplegic. Miraculously, he regained sensation in his left leg, but not his right leg. About 45 years ago the decision was made to amputate. Hern adapted to his new life.
He's now a facilitator of a local group called Amputees Helping Amputees.
"People do need that support. I lost mine so many years ago. I didn't have that support growing up. That’s why I basically do it. You just have to be out there to help people," says Amputees Helping Amputees Facilitator Floyd Hern.
After healing comes new opportunities.
"When you’re able to talk to somebody that has truly been through a similar situation, that just can be very reassuring and can have a positive impact when you can see that after you get through the healing part of the situation and your body is gaining strength and you receive this prosthesis that really things can get back to doing what you need to do," explains Hanger Clinic Prosthesis Manager Jean Hobkirk.
Each person goes through different phases in their own time.
"Being an amputee as long as I have, you kinda can sense how people are going to accept it. And then you just basically, I don’t know, it’s instincts. I just go from there," says Hern.
Before COVID, meetings would have anywhere from six to 15 attendees. Mostly amputees themselves, but also their loved ones.
"Not everybody has a prosthesis, but many of ‘em do. So there can be a case where somebody has recently had an amputation and they just have hundreds of questions of, you know, "what is life going to be like as an amputee?" "How do you get around without having a leg?" But then also, "how do you learn how to use a prosthesis and what does that feel like?" explains Hobkirk.
Hern says things do get better.
"Each individual’s different, but you can live a normal life. I’m proof of it. I’ve been doing this for 45 years and you just put one foot in front of the other one and you just have to keep goin’," says Hern.
Meetings are held every second Wednesday of the month at the Main Library from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Family and friends are also welcome. To register for the meeting, call Jean Hobkirk at the Hanger Clinic at 928-341-1965 or Floyd Hern at 928-750-5530.