I founded Stumps 'R Us because I saw the need for an organization of
amputees that would share success stories of how they coped and did so
with humor and courage. The one lesson we all learned was that we were
How did I lose my leg? In 1964, I stupidly took a perfectly good
motorcycle off the highway at 100+ mph and broke my back and almost
every bone in my body. My left leg was pulverized, and the surgeons didn't
have much success in fixing it. When I learned they wanted to experiment by
taking bone grafts from other parts of my body, I asked to have the
offending limb removed so that I could get on with my life.
This after 5 months in the hospital.
The doctors refused to amputate my leg, although they could give me no
assurances that grafting would give me anything more than a poor excuse
for a partially working limb. Dr. Ernest Burgess, a Seattle surgeon who
was performing battlefield amputations, agreed to remove my leg. Dr.
Burgess is the inventor of the Prosthetic Seattle Foot. I never regretted the decision.
I went on to earn a certified flight instructor's certificate and a
commercial license, and eventually was hired on as a corporate pilot. I
flew for Synanon Foundation for 15 years, became chief pilot and retired
in 1989, when I founded Stumps 'R Us. In my spare time, I work as a
freelance commercial announcer in San Francisco. I am married, 82 years old and
my wife thinks I'm cute.
Stumps `R Us meets monthly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Members
include a couple of double amputees and above-the-hip amputees. One, Brian
Wilson, rollerblades; another, Waymon Todd, plays golf once a week with no
handicap. Alan Fisk, a quad amputee, is our bowling coordinator and
athletic director. And Mike Penketh is a double-hand amputee; he built
an aerobatic aircraft with his myoelectric hands and flies in professional
aerobatic competition. Mike flies daily out of the Nut Tree, California, airport.
It isn't easy, but what good thing in life is?
If you'd like to join and meet others with the same or similar
disability, send your name and address (e-mail and U.S. Postal address) to
DanSorkin@gmail.com. I will send you news of our next get-together, a
current issue of our newsletter (GIMPY), a pamphlet about who we are
and what we do and an application for membership.
I wish you the best of luck and hope to hear from you soon.
Chief Stump, Stumps 'R Us