Sept. 13, 2020

Episode 34: Nicole Ver Kuilen - Founder of Forrest Stump

Episode 34: Nicole Ver Kuilen - Founder of Forrest Stump

Today’s guest is Nicole Ver Kuilen. At age 10, Nicole made the difficult decision to amputate her left leg to save her life from bone cancer. She would then spend the next 16 years fighting an outdated healthcare system to get access to the prostheti...


Today’s guest is Nicole Ver Kuilen. At age 10, Nicole made the difficult decision to amputate her left leg to save her life from bone cancer. She would then spend the next 16 years fighting an outdated healthcare system to get access to the prosthetic technology she needed to be physically active. Finally, in 2017, Nicole had said enough is enough and decided to quit her job to engage full time in political activism and advocacy. What transpired next is nothing short of inspirational. She took on a 1500-mile triathlon - swimming, biking, and running down the Pacific Coast – to advocate and educate others on the barriers individuals like her face to living full, healthy lives. She called her journey Forrest Stump. Today, Forrest Stump is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to raising the standard of care for all amputees. Its focus is to raise awareness on the barriers amputees face in being physically active and advocate for expanded access to the appropriate prosthetic technology and care. In this interview, we discuss how Nicole dealt with cancer growing up, what it’s like living with a prosthetic, her epic Forrest Stump triathlon, and goals and aspirations for the Forrest Stump nonprofit.

Timestamps

00:02:22 Growing up

00:07:37 Cancer diagnosis & treatment

00:15:50 Decision to amputate her leg

00:18:35 Transition from treatment & amputation

00:25:28 Maintenance and upkeep of a prosthetic

00:36:48 First running races

00:41:56 Jobs before Forrest Stump

00:46:00 Quitting her job to embark on Forrest Stump

00:51:00 Forrest Stump triathlon

01:07:33 Creation of the nonprofit

01:11:04 Insurance policies around prosthetics

01:25:45 #wejustfeltlikerunning campaign

01:31:51 Big goal over the next 10 years

01:34:09 Her daily routine

01:35:50 Her driving force

01:36:36 Advice for the person listening who wants to run their first distance race