Personal Hero - Molly Stapelman

Personal Hero - Molly Stapelman

In 2007, Molly gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Ryan. Ryan was beautiful and so much loved from the moment she was born. A true blessing that any parent can attest to. However, Ryan's birth signaled the beginning of an unexpected journey for Molly and her family. One that could have resulted in frustration and pity but instead turned to outreach, acceptance and a quest to unite. Molly shares her story...

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In 2007 I gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Ryan. As much as each baby is unique, Ryan entered the world with an unexpected hand difference. The growth of her right hand had been stunted, her palm small and no fingers expect a tiny thumb. We received painfully little information from health care professionals and my husband and I were left to search for answers on our own. Since then we now know Ryan's hand difference is known medically as Symbrachydactyly. I also learned that many other mothers had a similar difficulties finding information and support regarding their child's limb difference. In 2010 I launched the Lucky Fin Project. A non-profit organization aimed to educate parents and connect them with a community of support, resource and celebration.

Hearing from parents of limb different children or those with a limb difference themselves tell me that finding Lucky Fin Project has been a "game changer" for them. That the way the LFP celebrates the abilities and uniqueness of limb different people has encouraged them or brought a new perspective of how to parent. Overall I feel the message of "you are not alone" is what resonates most. To know that you are part of an extraordinary community of people that often resembles extended family brings many solace and empowerment.

In addition to building a community, Lucky Fin Project (LFP) serves as a worldwide hub on the internet for those with upper limb differences. We connect with individuals and families, distribute awareness materials, financially support efforts to have children attend specialized camps, obtain prosthetics, and to fund other organizations within the limb different community.

Our growth has been purely organic and through word of mouth. I would love to be able to spread awareness in a larger scope and have LFP awareness brochures available in every hospital and pediatricians office. I know their are families and individuals out there that think they are alone and they don't need to feel that way. I hope to obtain financial grants that would help our organization further it's mission to celebrate, educate, support and unite. The LFP currently hosts an annual gathering in Michigan for those in the limb different community to meet, many doing so for the first time face to face. I hope to establish similar gatherings in other locations throughout the U.S. 

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Through the creation of Lucky Fin Project, Molly has been able to touch so many lives! I am so inspired by the stories she shares on her Instagram feed. She is shining a light on the beauty of all people and is spreading the message of acceptance and love for all. She is creating a space where people can connect with others and gather much needed information that may not be readily available. Thank you Molly for being a warrior for these beautiful people and leading the way! You are a Personal Hero!

You can find out more about Lucky Fin Project on their Instagram feed or website where they have a wealth of resources.

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