Amputee starts support group for others with disabilities

Brett Bachtle
Created: November 19, 2019 08:10 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A new support group for area amputees has been created, after the founder of the group found a shortage of support locally. 

Renee’ Perleberg with the Mower Council for the Handicapped is the founder of Southern Minnesota Amputees Group Support (SMAGS).


The new group allows amputees to discuss the challenges they face with other amputees.
"I can't find it, so I might as well start it,” Perleberg said.

An amputee herself for more than 18 years, Perleberg initially reached out to her medical professionals looking for a place to go.

"I kept asking, 'Is there a group? Is there somebody to talk to? I need something. I need to talk to somebody.' They said, 'We don't know of anybody,'" explained Perleberg.

That's when Perleberg began the hunt herself, finding only two options: military geared groups or traveling to the twin cities.

"You think, ‘I can handle this. I can do it,’ but after a while, you start feeling alone. You start feeling, ‘I'm having issues, I don't know where to turn, I don't know who to talk to.’ I can talk to a doctor, but he's not an amputee so he doesn't know what's going on,” Perleberg said.

After customers raised similar questions at her workplace, Perleberg decided it was time to take action herself, creating the amputee support group that has now evolved to include a larger host of disabilities.

"Anything, bad accidents. You might not be an amputee, but the life as you know it has ceased to exist. We don't have all the same problems, but we get it,” said Perleberg.

Stroke victims, people living with PTSD, and those who are wheelchair-bound have all reached out, looking for a place to chat.

"Talking with other people is probably one of the best things ever,” Perleberg said.

The group has even had interest from people across the border in Iowa. If you think you would benefit from attending one of the meetings, they take place at the Mower Council for the Handicapped in Austin on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m.

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