Snippet from: https://www.wnem.com/2022/10/28/saginaw-man-helps-amputees-regain-their-mobility-find-support/
During the pandemic, Step Up went virtual like many programs. Not only did the program reach their regulars in mid-Michigan, but amputees from across the country and the world. However, not being able to meet in person showed Baranek just how important the classes are to his patients.
“I really started noticing my new patients that weren’t allowed to take advantage of that, there was, there was a gap and the decline in the quality of care,” Baranek said.
He hopes with the program, a group that he says is less than 1 percent of the population is afforded a better standard of care.
“By creating these online communities and things like that, we want to just try to raise the standards for what people think, you know, what a quality of life can be on a prosthetic limb. So, that everyone who is living their life in a prosthesis or everyone who’s in the industry or in this profession is doing more to help,” Baranek said.
With his advocacy he is working to get everyone, from the insurance companies to a person on the street, to understand what an amputee goes through each day. Baranek said many companies and people don’t understand what is needed for them to function.
“People will say, ‘oh well, you know, someone shouldn’t be able to, you know, be on disability because you work all the time.’ How does that make you feel? And I’ve looked at people and said, ‘well, what level of pain do you feel like you should tell someone they have to endure?’ And they look at you like, ‘pain? How is that part of the equation?’ Cause they don’t understand what goes on behind the scenes,” Baranek said.
Baranek would like to see Step Up grow to help more amputees, with groups forming across the country and someday around the world.
“It would be nice to think that we could create a community, you know, an amputee community that’s helping to make things better for everyone. I always say that if things were better, if I could contribute in a way that would make things better for this profession than when I started then that’s what it would be all about,” he said.
Step Up isn’t just for individuals with amputees now. Caregivers, family members, and friends are also welcomed to join the classes. Baranek said having them there and taking part will help them better understand what their loved ones are going through. It will also help them better assist in post-operation care and emotional support.
Step Up took a break for the summer, but they are back at it again this fall. To register for the class, you can click here: https://www.bremerprosthetics.com/step-up