Meet RSM Pursue Your Passion Winner: Brittney Royale
Associate | Schaumburg, IL
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1,500 babies are born in the US each year with upper limb deficiencies, and about 750 are born with lower limb deficiencies. In other words, each year about four out of every 10,000 babies will be born missing all or part of their arm(s), and about two out of every 10,000 babies will be born missing all or part of their leg(s).
My nephew, Logan, was one of those babies. In 2015, he was born missing his left arm below the elbow. Over the past three years he has taught me so much and has brought awareness to the unique challenges and obstacles that hundreds of thousands of people with limb differences face every day. Think about it…have you ever tried to tie your shoes with one hand? Button a coat with one hand? Wash your hair with one hand? Play catch with one hand? Have you ever been stared at and whispered about while you’re shopping, or sitting in a restaurant, or playing in the park…just because of the way you were born? We all have differences and traits that make us unique, but unfortunately, in the world we live in today, these differences are not always accepted by others.
In addition to the physical and social challenges, there are also financial challenges that place a great deal of stress on families of kids with limb differences. There are tons of doctor visits, especially at first, followed by occupational therapy – some of it quite extensive or lifelong depending on the limb difference – and then the continued and exorbitant cost of prosthetics. For a baby to get a prosthetic arm with fused fingers (meaning the hand is all one piece, in a cupped shape) that they can wear from six months to two years, it costs almost $1,000 after insurance.
The older the child gets, the more medical insurance will be used on other things, and the more the family will have to pay out of pocket. A human being should not have to pay thousands of dollars for a limb that almost everyone else is born with for free.
Winning the Pursue Your Passion contest would give me an amazing, and otherwise impossible, opportunity to help both my nephew as well other children and families that have been impacted by a limb difference.
First – and in line with RSM’s core values of teamwork and stewardship – I will volunteer at Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago during the personal days that I receive. Shriners is an amazing hospital that offers help and hope to children with limb differences, bone disease, cleft lip and palate, and spinal cord injuries. My sister has taken my nephew there several times, and the warm welcome and support they received was amazing. Families often enter feeling alone and full of fear and uncertainty, but the wonderful and caring staff makes them feel like they’re part of a community and they leave feeling extremely positive and hopeful. I would love to be a part of that.
Next, I will use the monetary part of the prize in two ways. First, to help my nephew, I would like to use half of the money to set up a trust for him so he can afford a prosthetic in the future. The more advanced the prosthetic (separate fingers, robotic elements, etc.), the more expensive they become, and his insurance will not cover it all. Second, I would like to use the other half of the winnings to help pay for several children’s prosthetic bills at Scheck & Siress, a company that makes prosthetics using the best technology available. This is also the place where my nephew received his first prosthetic arm, and I would love to be able to help other people who can’t afford to pay their bills. Everyone deserves to have a prosthetic if they need one – a lack of money should not deny them that privilege.
The Pursue Your Passion program is my chance to help my nephew and others that were born with a limb difference. I’m proud to be part of a company like RSM that can truly help change lives.