April is Limb Loss Awareness Month. The month is celebrated across the United States and around the world to recognize those living with limb loss and to raise awareness of limb loss prevention. Today, meet Zachary Braden. Zach is a 24-year-old personal trainer from Wilmington, DE living with double amputation.
Tracy Agostinho (TA): Can you tell us a little about your story?
Zachary Braden (ZB): This is my second admission to Magee. Originally, I was here for pre-prosthetic training after sustaining a double amputation (right above knee amputation and left below knee amputation) due to complications from a gunshot accident. The incident occurred while a friend was playing with a hand gun while intoxicated. Currently, I am here for post-prosthetic training to continue to work with my prostheses.
TA: Any advice for new amputees or prosthetic trainers?
ZB: I would say don’t be afraid to change your life. You will have good days and bad days, and it will test your strength, but continue to set goals and come back positive. Also, it is good take your time. For me, I related my journey to my work as a personal trainer. I always told my clients that success does not happen overnight: it takes time. Always make sure you rest, collect yourself, and keep pushing forward.
TA: What are you most looking forward to in the future?
ZB: I look forward to getting back on track and being both an inspiration and mentor for people with and without physical disabilities by sharing my journey and advice. I want to continue to inspire people through my personal training by leading one-on-one sessions as well as group classes at my boxing gym to improve other’s physical health as well as their psychosocial well-being. I want to continue to be a part of other people’s lives.