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Community Spotlight: Helping Amputees Live Their Best Lives

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Community Spotlight: Helping Amputees Live Their Best Lives

Wiser clients know Denise Garten, Financial Advisor, CWS®, as a trusted guide and steady support through life’s changes and milestones. Today we are pleased to spotlight another dimension of Denise’s advocacy work as a founding member of the Southwest Michigan Amputee Resource Group (SMARG).

When Denise couldn’t find the support she needed and deserved as an amputee living in our community, she helped to create it.

“A few of us got together last fall to start this unique group where people who have been affected by limb loss can feel at home to learn and grow with each other,” says Denise. “Our mission is to empower people to live their best life as an amputee.”

Denise is dedicated to overcoming challenges and, in the process, uplifting others.

Today the group is thriving and actively supporting the amputee community through education, communication and advocacy.

In fact, if you have young children in the area, they may have already benefitted from Denise visiting their daycare or classroom – where they could listen to her story, examine prosthetics, and have the opportunity to ask questions in a supportive environment.

For many of these children, Denise’s classroom visit is the first time they can speak openly to someone who has experienced the loss of a limb, or see prosthetics up close and learn how they work. The results are heart-opening.

“I share that everyone has something different about themselves. We do certain activities that help children experience what it would be like to have one leg or hand,” says Denise.

Building that kind of empathy at such a young age will certainly strengthen our community in the long run.

Denise also shares examples of how loss of limb can occur and information for prevention. And importantly, she says, “We discuss with the children how they react when they see an amputee.”

The group’s three tenants are:

  • You are never alone.
  • Live well with loss of limb.
  • Empower the community.

Denise visits the Community Learning Center in Comstock, Oakland Child Development Center in Portage and Starting Point Preschool in Kalamazoo to familiarize children with life as an amputee.

If you are interested in attending or hosting one of these presentations at a daycare or classroom, Denise welcomes you to call her at 269.873.8851.

The group also invites the community to join their meetings, held on the second Monday of each month from 6:30 to 7:30p.m. at Ascension Borgess Health and Fitness. “Each meeting has a special focus, and we host guest speakers and specialists on that topic. We also get together for community events and outings,” says Denise. For questions or more information about SMARG, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Be sure to check out the group’s Facebook page at: And spread the word!

Wiser is proud to have you on our team as a trusted advisor, Denise, and we are grateful to have you in our community as an inspiring friend and advocate.

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