Missouri lawmaker uses personal experience to bring awareness to limb loss

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri lawmaker hopes his own personal story will help others who face the same everyday struggles he does.

First-Year Representative Rasheen Aldridge walks the halls of the capital with the help of a prosthetic.

This is a deeply personal piece of legislation for the freshman lawmaker.

Aldridge was sworn in at the start of this legislative session and in a few short weeks, he witnessed his first bill being unanimously approved out of committee with bipartisan support.

“I’m really excited about this legislation since it is so personal to me,” Aldridge said. “I’m emotional that my colleagues voted it out without any pushback at all and I’m hoping that come April we can really inform folks about individuals that have lost a limb and the process they go through on a day-to-day basis.”

Aldridge’s HB 2352 would designate April as Limb Loss Awareness Month in Missouri. Aldridge was born with one leg shorter than the other and that led to the need for a prosthetic that helps him walk from committee meeting to meeting in the Missouri capital. But Aldridge says the bill is not about him. It’s about everyone who lives with the same everyday realities he does.

“Individuals who lost their limbs wake up, they have to put a prosthetic on like myself,” Aldridge said. “Before I put my pant leg on I have to put it on my prosthetic then I put the sock on then I put the shoe on.”

He also hopes his bill will educate others about issues that are not so visible.

“How individuals who have lost limbs struggle and sometimes even go through depression, feeling like they are not normal, feeling like that they shouldn’t live because now they have this special device on their leg or on their arm or they lost a fingertip and feel a little insecure in themselves,” Aldridge said.

Aldridge says his bill has sparked interest from fellow lawmakers wanting to learn more about living with the loss of a limb.

“So it’s just raising awareness and allowing folks that have lost their limbs to understand that people who do care about them and understand that either if it was something that happened to them with a birth defect or something that happened to them later in life, that people do care in the state of Missouri about them,” Aldridge said.

Aldridge also points out prosthetics can cost thousands of dollars and are not always completely covered by insurance.

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