Paralympic Athlete comes to Iowa City to launch mentor program
By Samantha Myers, KCRG-TV9 | Posted: Thu 12:51 PM, Jul 21, 2016
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - An athlete who competed at the 2012 London Paralympic games is helping launch a new mentorship program in Iowa City.
Katy Sullivan teaming up with the prosthetic and orthotic center, Hanger Clinic, to help kick start a program called AMPOWER that will provide a support to other amputees.
She taught a group of amputees in Iowa City how to be peer mentors for other amputees in Iowa.
Nathan Williams is going to be one of the peer mentors. He lost his leg to a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma.
“I guess going through the process of having my leg amputated it would have been fantastic having someone to talk to who had been through the same situation as me,” Williams said.
He says he hasn’t let his amputation affect his positive outlook on life.
“My wife was like you know it’s about time you do something like this, she and the rest of my family have seen my positive attitude toward this so if I can share that with people who are maybe having a tougher time and help them cope in any way,” Williams said.
Sullivan says mentoring amputees is important because sometimes people can feel isolated.
“Just on a personal note, I didn’t meet another amputee that I considered a real peer until I was out of college so the idea of that isolation and that feeling that you’re the only person in the world that’s experiencing something like that it’s real you know people need to feel like there’s community out there,” Sullivan said.
Theresa Bonnema a prosthetist with the Hanger Clinic says that sense of community is important to the health and well-being of amputees.
"There isn't a huge percentage of the population who are amputees so we wanted to be able to connect the people who are amputees together," Bonnema said.
From here on out the group will organize events and reach out to amputees in the area.