Meet Facebook Community Member Roger

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Our Facebook community members may recognize Roger as an active and thoughtful member of our Facebook community. We’ve appreciated and been intrigued by Roger’s posts and wanted to get to know him better and thought you would  too.  Here is our interview with Roger.

Q. How did you come to be a prosthetic device wearer?

Roger Chan
Roger Chan

I lost  my lower left leg when I was struck by a car while riding my motorcycle. As the driver attempted to hit and run he dragged me until a good Samaritans forced him to stop. Unfortunately for me, by then my leg was sheared off. I rode my 1450cc Indian for over five years with no car, averaging about 13,000 to 15,000 miles each year. I was about as close to a professional biker rider as you can be.

{Editor’s Note: Roger was too modest to mention that on 12/23/2010 he was on the way to celebrate his 59th birthday — by helping cook meals for people in need.  Here is a link to an article in the local paper written after his accident.}

Q. Who helped you navigate all the decisions you had to make when determining which prostheses to select?

Reps from several different prosthetists had visited me while I was in the hospital shortly after surgery. They were very helpful in dissipating a lot of the unknowns of my new life like healing and recovery and what I might expect during therapy . My medical doctor continues to be my best adviser for my prosthesis for he too is a lower leg amputee. I selected my prosthetist and my doctor because both specialize in treating amputees like me who are very physically active and/or competitive.

Q.  What advice would you tell yourself back in that moment that you first lost your limb?

At the time of my collision, based on the severity of the pain, I knew it was very bad and that I would most likely lose my limb. I also became immediately aware of the few folks that I had grown up with who had survived traumatic injuries to their limbs. Both had endured years and years of corrective surgery and pain only to ultimately have to lose their limb anyway. I did not want to go that route so I agreed to have the amputation immediately. This Thanksgiving will be my third ampuversary and I have now spent much time with other amps. It turns out that those who lost their limbs  electively  after years of surgery had confirmed my decision to just do it. It is a horrific thing to lose a limb traumatically but I am blessed that technology has made it so much more bearable and livable.

Q. Who is your role model in life and why?

My role model is all the other amputees who are out there doing it. Living their lives, pushing their limits and taking on new challenges. We are members of the most exclusive club in the world that no one wants to belong to and the bond is extraordinary.

Q. Can you share one of your proudest moments in your life?

My proudest moment was being asked to run for public office just two months after leaving the hospital which left just two months before the actual election. The time was so compressed I barely had enough time to get my thoughts together much less launch a serious political campaign. Although I did not win I was the only opponent besides the incumbents who received 24% or more of the votes. All the others garnered only 3% to 7% after campaigning 6 months to a year and a half compared to my 6 weeks. I continue to be blessed, on a fairly regular basis, with being the recipient of incredible random acts of kindness.

Q. What are three words the folks closest to you would use to describe you.

Resilient, resourceful, fiercely competitive.

Q. What causes or topics are you passionate about?

Having lost my leg through trauma I am now up front and deeply personally aware of just how great a loss and sacrifice that our soldiers have made when they come home with missing limbs. Therefore, I spend as much time as they will permit me to help with the Wounded Warrior programs to help them gain or regain a sense of normalcy, desire and purpose in their lives. I also teach summer cooking camp for kids, teaching them how to be more self reliant by being able to make better food choices, select good healthy and ripe foods, how to prepare it, cook it and eat it using proper etiquette and social graces.

Q. What hobbies do you enjoy?

Roger's tennis serve!
Roger’s tennis serve!

Prior to losing my leg I was an Assistant City Manager of a top fifteen US City, a community leader, marathon runner, lacrosse coach and a Shaolin trained Kung Fu instructor. I was also an avid sailor, bicyclist, motorcycle rider and competitive tennis player. Although I am not a veteran I now row sculls with the Wounded Warriors, ride a recumbent bicycle, ride my handicap adopted motorcycle and am coached in tennis by Wimbledon winner Dennis Ralston, who now is also an amputee and was Chrissy Evert’s coach when she won Wimbledon. I would love to teach Kung Fu again and run but I only have one prosthesis and it does not have the necessary features I would need to perform the way I need to. Losing my leg forced me to alter what I do for a living so I have returned to my first love when I started out and that is as a French trained culinary chef. I am currently crowdfunding to raise money to convert a commercial property that a family who found out about me, Googled me and has offered to sell to me and hold the financing for me so I can start my new life over. Life is good.

You can read more about Roger at his website

Roger wears the  Ottobock Triton Harmony System

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