Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nurse amputee: Nobody told her not to try!


Mary Novotny Jeffries, RN, MS


At 11 years old, Mary Novotny Jeffries lost her leg to bone cancer. After discharge from the hospital she returned home to life with her 7 siblings; where nobody told her not to try. And, try is what she did!

She credits much of her success to her quick rebound to normal life. Between school and chores, she didn't have time to feel sorry for herself. 

In 1979, Mary launched the Families and Amputees in Motion support group while pursuing her master's degree in nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her focus was on rehabilitation nursing. At the UIC Amputee Clinic, she conducted research exploring questions regarding amputees' adjustment to limb loss, particularly in terms of body image. 

After presenting her findings, physicians and nurses soon began asking Novotny to talk to new amputees and present her information at other venues. These experiences helped to shape her passion for peer visitation. 

She founded the Amputee Coalition of America in 1986 (amputee-coalition.org) and the National Limb Loss Information Center in 1997. 

Now, she counsels and trains amputees in locales as close as Chicago and as far away as Haiti, where she traveled after the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Mary considers herself a "lucky" cancer patient. 

"I rarely felt like what I did was work.... Giving to help others is not work. It rewards the giver far more than one can imagine."

Click on the articles below to read more about Mary's remarkable journey.


Cheers!

Donna