Limb Kind adaptive runway show embraces differences


The Limb Kind Foundation hosted its fourth annual Show Your Shine adaptive runway show on Feb. 3 at The Sands in Atlantic Beach.

Jill Smith, an occupational therapist from Rockville Centre, founded the Show Your Shine fundraiser to help benefit and celebrate those with limb loss. Every year, she teams up with her brother, Robert Shulman, the founder and executive director of the Limb Kind Foundation whose mission aims to help improve the lives of children with limb loss by strengthening the amputee community and providing pediatric prosthetic care to all.

The adaptive runway event has repeatedly been a sold out success, creating a supportive environment while drawing attention to the courage and resilience of people with limb differences and limb loss.

“This is a special evening that continues to further advance our mission of improving the lives of children with limb loss,” Schulman said.

Organizers said the show isn’t merely a celebration — it’s a platform for empowerment and raising awareness.

The event provides a unique opportunity for the amputee community,” Schulman said, “inspiring others and fostering a sense of unity and acceptance.”

Smith, who said she is passionate about challenging societal norms and perceptions, shared her motivation for creating the event.

“I want people to stare for the right reasons,” she said. “These individuals are stared at daily due to their differences, but at this event, all eyes will be on them, celebrating.”

More than 20 participants, from ages 6 to 46, many of them children, worked the runway, celebrating their differences and strength despite having experienced limb loss in various forms, be it arms, legs or hands.

“It takes courage and confidence to walk down a runway, with or without a physical difference,” Smith said. “Through this experience, each model finds their own confidence, and their community learns that differences do not need to separate them from their dreams.”

Matias Ferreira, 30, was among the models participating this year. He currently holds the distinction of being the first double amputee patrolman in the country. He is also a United States military veteran and a Suffolk County Police officer.

“I’ve done some public speaking, but this is a different experience,” Ferreira said. “It’s nerve-racking with the flashing lights and a lot of people looking at you. But we did a walk-through yesterday, which helped me get a little more comfortable being on the stage.”

Ferreira’s presence wasn’t just about his own journey. It also symbolized collaboration between the foundation and Beyond the Badge, a volunteer-based organization with the mission of supporting members of law enforcement and raising awareness of the mental health and suicide crisis among first responders.

Both the Limb Kind Foundation and Beyond the Badge were selected as two of the three charities that will be supported by the Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year.

In a world often obsessed with perfection, the Show Your Shine Adaptive Runway Show stands as a beacon of acceptance, resilience and unity. As the models took to the stage, they not only displayed the latest fashions but also their indomitable spirit, proving that differences can be celebrated and embraced.