Celebrating differences

Leslie Pitt’s life changed forever on her first day of summer vacation when she was 6 years old.

After playing with her best friend, she hopped onto her bike for a short ride. But on the way home, she was struck by a dump truck. The impact completely crushed her left leg, forcing it to be amputated.

Instead of looking back on that day with anger or anguish, Pitt has come to embrace her circumstances. Living with limb loss taught Pitt that sometimes our greatest losses can become the pillars of our greatest strengths.

Leslie Pitt, creator of Project Lolo.

What some might label a disability, Pitt considers an enabling situation: She went on to get degrees in law, nursing, and global health and human rights.

She’s been an advocate for those with limb loss for decades, and recently founded Project Lolo (Love Ourselves Love Others), a nonprofit organization that helps children around the world who need orthopedic care or assistive mobility devices.

More recently, Pitt added a powerful story to her resume with a 32-page children’s picture book — Lolo’s Superpower ($16.95 hardcover) — with a message that children should love the traits that make them unique, no matter what some folks might say.

In a tale reminiscent of the classic story Corduroy, readers follow the adventures of Lolo, a doll who lives in a toy store, alone, on the very bottom shelf below all the other dolls. Lolo doesn’t really look like the other dolls. But Lolo really loves being different — and decides those differences must be a superpower!

Pitt, as soon as she is able, plans to bring the story of Lolo’s Superpower to classrooms, hospitals and youth camps to help further educate children about finding their superpowers.

Meanwhile, Pitt, with her international organization, is working to help the world’s 93 million children with disabilities live their best lives, despite discrimination, especially in developing countries.