ARLINGTON, VA (March 3, 2010) – On March 12, Paralympic athletes from around the world will gather in Vancouver for the 2010 Paralympic games. To celebrate their achievements, Plastics Make it PossibleSM, an initiative sponsored by the plastics industries of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), is partnering with Desert Storm veteran and two-time Paralympian John Register to raise more than $25,000 for the Athletes with Disabilities Network (ADN), a subsidiary of Easter Seals Michigan, which provides services and mentorship for disabled athletes.
People who want to help can visit www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com to make a donation as small as $1 to ADN to help inspire athletes with disabilities to become the Paralympians of the future. Plastics Make it Possible will match the first $25,000 in donations made through April 30. In just three weeks, this program could generate $50,000 in needed funds.
“Organizations like the Athletes with Disabilities Network can make such an amazing difference in people’s lives, helping them through what is otherwise a very traumatic time dealing with the loss of a limb. Being an amputee myself, I know how important that is,” said John Register, a former Paralympian who lost his left leg below the knee and now serves as a motivational speaker. “Participating in sports can really help amputees feel ‘normal’ again and today’s prostheses made from plastic, aluminum and composite materials are so well-designed and functional, that virtually no activity is out-of-reach.”
Modern prostheses have been revolutionized by plastic materials that help make them stronger, lighter, more flexible and realistic, to mimic the function of natural limbs. Made of plastic, aluminum and composite materials that allow for patient-molded and individually fitted prostheses, today’s devices are more functional, durable and comfortable than ever. Also, with the advent of microprocessors, computer chips and robotics, prostheses have crossed over from just providing basic functionality, to helping return amputees to the lifestyle they were accustomed to, and sometimes enabling them to push their bodies to farther limits than non-disabled athletes.
“From carbon fiber technology used for shock absorption to custom-fitted sockets made from resilient polycarbonates, plastics are a vital part of the innovative, active prostheses that are used by disabled athletes in the Paralympics and any sports they typically enjoy,” said Steve Russell, vice president, Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council. “The Paralympics are a wonderful demonstration of what these amazing athletes can do in spite of amputations or other disabilities, and we are thrilled to be able to raise money for an organization like the Athletes with Disabilities Network to help inspire a whole new generation of athletes.”
Established in 2009, ADN promotes a better quality of life by creating opportunities for people with physical disabilities. ADN operates and organizes the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame, the only Hall of Fame completely dedicated to honoring individuals with disabilities for sport and recreation achievement, and Extremity Games, an international extreme sports competition for athletes living with limb loss or limb difference.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 1.7 million amputees in the United States. The makers of plastic prosthetic technologies remain committed to developing breakthrough devices to help disabled people live fuller, more active lives.
“For many people who have suffered the trauma of limb loss, getting involved in sports and continuing to pursue activities that they previously enjoyed can make a huge difference in their recoveries, self-confidence and quality of life,” said Elizabeth Taylor, executive director of ADN. “We’ve seen firsthand how innovations in prosthetic technology have helped athletes to not only overcome the trauma of limb loss, but flourish in international events like the Paralympics as well as our own Extremity Games. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Plastics Make it PossibleSM to help inspire a whole new generation of disabled athletes to ‘go for the gold’.”