Contributed by Amy Rivera, Founder of Ninjas Fighting Lymphedema Foundation
Ninjas Fighting Lymphedema Foundation is a non-profit organization that was formed by a lymphedema patient to assist other patients who suffer from lymphedema.
What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is caused by chronic swelling due to trauma or blockage in the lymph nodes, which makes it difficult for the lymphatic fluid to drain correctly. Your lymphatic system is a filtering system that removes the waste from your blood and keeps you healthy so you can fight infections, cancers, and death in severe cases. Lymphedema can be managed, though treatment is costly and often not covered through insurance.
In the United States, it is estimated that nearly two million people suffer from primary lymphedema, and 2-3 million people suffer from secondary lymphedema. Most of the people who suffer from secondary lymphedema are cancer survivors. And, unfortunately, both of these statistics continue to increase. Depending on the severity of the conditions some patients simply require therapy and compression garments, while others may require the use of compression garments (daytime and nighttime), compression pumps, plus receive Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) for longer periods of time.
Ninjas Fighting Lymphedema Foundation’s mission is to assist in providing necessary treatment options to patients who are in financial need. Our vision is to educate the public, raise awareness of the need to be compliant, and promote a lifestyle that focuses on living a positive life with lymphedema.
Amy Rivera started this organization from her personal experience with lymphedema. She was born with lymphedema but wasn’t diagnosed with this incurable disease until 2013. Growing up with lymphedema wasn’t the most pleasant for Amy, who was bullied in school due to her condition. Leaving doctor appointment after doctor appointment with zero answers caused emotional turmoil not only for Amy but also to those around her.
However, Amy’s leg and all of the obstacles which accompanied it instilled the fire within her to create a world where people with lymphedema should not have to feel isolated or ashamed but rather empowered. She is determined to help lymphedema fighters not only embrace their incurable disease but to use it as a voice to raise awareness.
For more information, please visit www.winourfight.org.