I worked in healthcare for close to a decade and I am still passionate about the great work and sacrifice people in this field are doing. September is Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.) awareness month. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, P.A.D. currently affects 8 to 12 million people in the U.S. The disease is most common in those over the age of 50, often occurring in the legs causing plaque to build in arteries. The plaque can often harden and narrow the arteries, limiting the flow of oxygen. The real danger of this disease is that it increases a patient’s chances of heart attack, stroke and amputation.
A few years back my company TAP Social Media was working for The Save A Leg, Save A Life Foundation (SALSAL) and we came up with a great campaign. Our team and the leaders at SALSAL were kicking around some ideas on how to create more awareness for amputees.
So I thought what if we use social media and the power of images to create a campaign where people wear a large white tube sock to help create awareness of what amputees have to deal with on a daily basis. The team loved it and at the time we called it the White Sock Campaign. After having two kids I had to scale back my business and focus on my full time job and writing.
However, the SALSAL Foundation has not slowed down. Over the past few years Medtronic and other groups and companies have lended support to the Foundation and the campaign is now called “Docs In Socks.”
The social campaign is simple and easy for anyone to participate in any place at any time. We want people to take a second out of their life to think about what it is like to live your life as an amputee. All participants need to do is put on a large white sock and pull it up over their pant leg. Then take a picture of your leg or have someone take a picture of you. Post that picture on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #DocsInSocks
“Try wearing your white sock outside your pants leg beyond just a photo op and see what happens,” Dr. Bell said. “Walk around your office, hospital or a non-medical setting and pay attention to the reactions of others. Guaranteed you will attract curious looks and stares. Use these as teaching opportunities to educate those who inquire on any aspect of PAD, amputation or why amputation prevention is so important.”
Dr. Bell recently wore a white sock around First Coast Cardiovascular Institute where he works. He said the results were fascinating.
“The self consciousness I felt when attracting attention by wearing my white sock must pale in comparison to what an amputee must feel the first time they go out in public without a leg, or with a prosthesis, should they be fortunate enough to walk again,” he said.
“We can take our white socks off and return to “normal” whenever we feel. Only an amputee can know the “normal” of life without a leg, or two.”
“If you think wearing a white sock outside your pants leg feels strange, imagine wearing a prosthetic leg for the rest of your life,” Dr. Bell said.
For more information on this great foundation and to help them raise awareness visit www.thesalsal.org.