Nonprofit Helps Those With Limb Loss and Limb Differences
"We believe kids need to be kids, they need to be active. They need to keep up with their friends on the playground, they need to participate in sports." That's just part of the mission behind "Wiggle your Toes," a Shakopee-based nonprofit. There are some children and adults, who've lost a limb or are living with a limb difference, that need help bringing movement back into their lives.
Wiggle Your Toes goes the extra mile with the "STRONGER" program, created back in 2018.
"Our board decided that we would create the "STRONGER" program, named after the movie "Stronger," that would gift running blades and fitness products to kids and some adults who want to be active," explained Aaron Holm, Executive Director of Wiggle Your Toes. The program is more than just an homage to an inspirational movie. Wiggle Your Toes outfitted a prosthetic for the man who the film was based on, Jeff Bauman. He is a Boston Marathon bombing survivor.
The actor who portrayed Bauman, Jake Gyllenhaal, is lending his star power to Wiggle Your Toes. Gyllenhaal has blasted a new challenge across social media. Instead of dumping ice buckets, all you have to do is raise a glass, donate $10, and share the message on your feeds.
The money goes beyond the specialty blades, like specialty programs. "We've had wake surfing events, we've had downhill skiing and snowboarding events, we've had golf clinics. Basically, we put together the clinics, the physical therapists, the people that are really good at teaching individuals with a disability how to do a particular thing. Mountain biking, whatever sport they want to do, we'll make those connections," said Holm. And the majority of it happens in Minnesota.
Wiggle Your Toes has helped a lot of people including Blake Leeper, whose legs below the knee were missing at birth. Today, he's the 7th fastest person in the world and he's planning to compete against the top able-bodied athletes at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.