FALMOUTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- A new Maine-based non-profit held its first big event Monday, one that aimed at empowering amputees through golf.

The Amputee Association of Maine was formed just this year by people who say they saw a lack of support and guidance for amputees trying to move forward with their lives post loss of limb. On Monday, more than 30 people competed in the first annual Maine Amputee Open at Falmouth Country Club.
John LeMieux, a co-founder of the association, who lost his leg to cancer and is an avid golfer himself, says bringing people with similar stories together and for sport empowers amputees to embrace life and all its obstacles.

“The emotional toll of somebody who loses a limb is huge,” said LeMieux, who had to have his left leg amputated in 2012. “The neat thing is that everybody's the same. We've just had something happen that makes us unique, but aside from that little bit of uniqueness, we're just like everybody else.”

Lemieux says golf requires balance, which is important to those now walking on a prosthetic limb, but requires less quick movements than in activities like tennis. Former professional golfer and five-time PGA Tour event winner, Ken Green, also competed in Monday’s tournament. Green, who had his right leg amputated below the knee following an RV accident in 2009, expressed how helping others cope with their amputations through helping them improve their golf game makes him happy and drives him.

LeMieux hopes Monday’s event will encourage more people living with amputations to reach out to the amputee association for support.

The Maine Amputee Open will continue through Tuesday.