In an age where reality has overrun media, from Facebook and Twitter, to nightly television, it's easy to confuse "reality" with what's real. Somewhere between the piercing bright lights, the hum of the cameras, and the editing room floor lies only bits of truth, you just need to know what to look for.
Enter Aviva Drescher. She walks into the room quiet, calm, donning a pair of fitted blue jeans and a crisp white shirt, a far cry from what we've come to see from the drama known as The Real Housewives of New York City. She is joining me today for an intimate conversation about the accident that took her leg at the tender age of six and the drive to dedicate her life to helping new amputees.
I was immediately impressed by her warmth and honesty. This was not the woman I had come to "know" from TV. I was expecting the woman who was immortalized in the annals of reality TV the night she removed her prosthetic leg after a heated argument, and instead I found a real, loving wife and philanthropist. She is a genuine, kind natured individual who beams with love and pride when talking about life with her family. A mother of four, she confesses her home is far from the "Kool-Aid" house some may expect and that her kids keep her moving all day long.
On this day, Aviva turned her spotlight on the One Step Ahead Foundation. This wonderful organization helps new amputees adjust to life with a prosthesis by offering guidance and support, as well as activities and events to teach them how to feel comfortable and safe. In addition to their direct outreach, The One Step Ahead Foundation raises money to help people whose insurance does not pay for prosthetic limbs.
For some, she has become a beacon of hope. She's receiving letters from new amputees in the hospital who have seen her active on television and knew they would be ok.
"THAT is the reason I did Real Housewives of New York City," she says. "While the show was challenging at times, it was completely worth it because it gave me a voice to help the cause."
Recently, Aviva was humbled and proud to meet with the survivors of the Boston bombing. She received word from the Boston hospitals informing her that the survivors would like to meet and speak with her. Aviva immediately went to visit them, talking about her experience as an amputee and assuring them that everything would be ok.
Aviva is focused on championing this wonderful cause and not only helps with the physical and mental adjustments to prosthetics, but also brings light to some of the unseen hardships.
"A new law passed by New York State says that insurance companies are only required to pay for one prosthesis per lifetime, which is just absurd," explained Aviva. "Children grow, people need different prosthetics for different activities like running, swimming, wearing heels, etc. An individual definitely needs more than one prosthetic in a lifetime."
Aviva urges all of us to get involved and sign the petition at www.onelimbforlife.com.
Spotlight On is all about you, our audience, getting involved with a cause you care about. If you are as inspired by Aviva's positivity and wonderful outlook as we are, please share and donate to both the One Step Ahead Foundation and A Step Ahead Prosthetics. What's next for the "Leggy Blonde?" Another book, helping new amputees and improving the world, one step at a time.
Here's a sneak peek into Aviva's chat about her work with new amputees, the truth behind reality television, and freeze dancing in our new "Pause for A Cause" series:
For more amazing segments that shine the spotlight on giving: www.spotlighton.nyc
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