Amputee Coalition statistics point to diabetes and vascular disease as the cause for 54 percent of amputations, with injury as the second largest cause (45 percent), and cancer causing less than 2 percent of amputations.

The Center for Disease control estimates that 33 percent of Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

According to information from the coalition, nearly half the patients who undergo amputations due to vascular disease may not live more than five years; over half who lose a leg are likely to lose the other within two to three years; and smokers are 25 times more likely to undergo re-amputation than nonsmokers.

Medicaid and Medicare pay for 60 percent of the 185,000 amputations performed annually in the U.S.; in 2009, hospital-associated costs exceeded $8 billion.

For Limb Loss Awareness Month 2014, the coalition asked supporters to organize or participate in awareness walks all over the country, providing startup materials at amputee-coalition.org. The coalition has also suggested amputees wear their prostheses in public and post photos on their Facebook pages on April 26.

"Support groups are an essential part of our organization," said Stout. "They are on the front lines of providing peer support to amputees and their families. We commend the amputee recreational support groups for showing their mettle by participating in walk/rolls."

Planning for the Limb Loss 5k Community Walk/Roll started about two months ago. Sponsors of the April 19 event include Laurel Main Street Pharmacy, Freedom Medical, One Umbrella, Adventist Rehabilitation Center, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Hanger Prosthetic and the MultiService Center of North Laurel.

The graphic shop Peak Performance is providing T-shirts; and Patty Figula from Some Assembly Needed, a support group from Middleburg, Ohio, made the blue and greens ribbons.

Gov. Martin O'Malley first proclaimed April to be Limb Loss Awareness Month in the state in 2011, but Saturday's Limb Loss 5K Community Walk/Roll at Laurel Lakes will be the first Laurel event recognizing limb loss awareness. "We are so excited," Willis said.

If you go

The Limb Loss 5K Community Walk/Roll is Saturday, April 19 at Granville Gude Park, 8300 Mulberry St. On site registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Laurel Lakes boathouse, and the walk/roll begins at 10 a.m.

Registration is free, although a $25 donation is requested.

To preregister or make a donation, go to crowdrise.com/limbloss/fundraiser/ARSG.

The event, which benefits the national Amputee Coalition, includes a 50/50 drawing and restaurant gift certificate raffle.

To volunteer with the Amputee Recreational Support Group of Laurel, contact Lisa Willis at 240-713-1714 or consultingra@yahoo.com.