Stephen Sumner

is creating humanitarian enterprise
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About Stephen Sumner

I'm an above-the-knee amputee, a trans-femoral or 'AK' amp. I lost my leg in June 2004 in a motor accident in central Italy. I had a bunch of other injuries and recovered from them all with relative aplomb. What I did not recover from and what was making my life pure hell was a bizarre neuropathic syndrome known as 'Phantom Limb Pain'. It was killing me.
Like any other 'macho man' I tried to 'man up' and sort-of mind-over-matter it. It didn't work. 4 or even 5 years after the surgery I had a bout to end all bouts. It was killing me.
I decided to take - finally - my own well-being into my own hands and try out a therapy that I had long known about by way of the internet: 'Mirror Therapy'.
It worked. Best thing that's ever 'happened' to me in my whole life.

So then, 2 years later I was sitting on my ass in the rain in Vancouver and it dawned on me - finally and again - that I was one of the lucky ones. If you're not within this crazy matrix of e-information; if you don't have the education, if you don't have this broad and wonderful network of family and friends and support both spurring you on and providing you with yet more info and connections and 'links'... well it's a different and tougher row to hoe altogether. It can be lonely and hellish.

So I resolved to try and bring what cured me to the less-privileged world, for the pure and simple reason that they will never discover it otherwise; and that everyone, at bare minimum, deserves a chance to live without agony and with hope.
It's been working real good.
I formed a 1-man org that I called 'Me And My Mirror' and hit the road in early 2012 and have pulled 3 big long and successful tours through Cambodia and 1 great mirror mission in Lao.
I had great luck and a generally wonderful reception. I treated many hundreds of amputees - most of them the victims of landmines and war in general - and gave away between 1600 and 1700 mirrors, with all the attendant love and respect and instruction.
Along the way I worked with a number of NGOs, big and small, who were both invaluable and totally essential to my success. Among them: The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC), Handicap International, The Cambodia Trust (now 'EXCEED'), Veterans' International, The Handa Foundation, Emergency Hospital, Trauma Care Foundation, COPE, and smaller guys besides; smaller Khmer and Lao outfits especially.

During this time I had the especially good luck to present mirror therapy and conduct seminars and workshops for 2 separate congresses of rehab therapists from all over the ICRC's world. They may have been Belgian or Dutch or Congolese: but they were treating amputees all over the disadvantaged world: Iraq, Afghanistan, Burundi, Somalia, Borneo, etc.

Word of great results got back to the ICRC HQ in Geneva. Lots and lots of bomb, gunshot and shrapnel victims - amputees - reporting a cessation or at least a huge reduction of their phantom limb agony. Reports were so positive that the ICRC has invited me to Beirut in 1 week's time to present at several different events all related to 'Conflict Medicine' and 'Traumatology' in Beirut, Tripoli and Gaza. In both Beirut and Gaza I will also be working with 'Doctors Without Borders' (MSF) and then again with the ICRC in Addis Ababa and, if current circumstances improve, in Asmara and other areas of Eritrea too.
4 years now and I've never made a penny. The ICRC is paying me this time, as a consultant, and I view this as a Huge step forward; but I am stripped bare and virtually w/out funds and was recommended this platform and feel that it is a very good fit and that it is both just and right in that patrons can support me - for very little - and the month-to-month nature of it would help me to continue my efforts as opportunities arise: Somalia, The Sudans, Togo, Haiti... you get it!

$0 of $5 per month
five bucks a month from a small handful of people can keep me out in the field. Only $10.00 buys a mirror.
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