Lauren Panasewicz
January 3, 2023
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Lauren Panasewicz

Changemaker: Lauren Panasewicz, Range of Motion Project


The World Health Organization estimates that 9 out of 10 people who need mobility devices do not have access to them, which includes prosthetic care. The Range of Motion Project (ROMP) addresses this global issue by providing prosthetic care to underserved populations.

And They Climb.

From a background in engineering, Lauren Panasewicz, Director of Development, found her way to this organization that embodies her passion for helping people with disabilities and being active. She was first introduced to ROMP in 2013 through its founder, Dave Krupa, in Ecuador.  “I was really impressed with Dave and the work he was doing,” Lauren said, “It related to what I had learned in school, which was how to build a sustainable program that can give the community what they need. I knew that I wanted to be a part of it in any way I could.”

In 2015, Lauren volunteered at the inaugural Climbing for ROMP campaign, an initiative where teams climb to bring awareness to the lack of access to prosthetic care. It is held every July to commemorate the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Money raised in the event helps provide prosthetic limbs to ROMP, patients, which can average about $1,300 per limb. In its first year, participation came from 22 countries. The following year, Lauren took over the event and has watched it grow ever since.

She leads the Elite Team, which consists of amputees and non-amputee climbers who climb Cotopaxi, a volcano in Ecuador that peaks at 19,347 feet. Along with the team, Climbing for ROMP was able to raise $150,000 last year. In 2020, Climbing for ROMP has grown to 47 states and 15 countries.

Most of ROMP’s funding is achieved through mobility events like Climbing for ROMP and Mobility May, which celebrates their birthday month and challenges advocates to get moving. Participants are encouraged to do “100 of something” whether its 100 pushups, biking 100 miles, or doing 100 climbs. “I think we all take our mobility for granted until we lose it. Mobility is freedom and independence,” Lauren said.

Growing Impact

“There’s a lot of work to do in the world right now. While working for ROMP, I’ve learned so much about the adaptive world, accessibility, and our health care systems.” Aside from frontline work, ROMP continues its advocacy through partnerships with similar organizations to improve life for people with disabilities at a legislative level. Particularly with prosthetics being considered as “durable medical equipment (DME)”, which also includes crutches, oxygen, bath safety, and more. Insurance companies usually give a limited amount of coverage for these items. Advocates believe that prosthetics are specialized and cannot be issued by general physicians as most DMEs can. Legislative provisions will provide patients with safe and quality care

Thanks to a group of rockstar ambassadors, Lauren can count on ROMP’s mission to spread further across the country. The group of 22 volunteers and advocates are involved in the orthotics and prosthetics industry, whether they are students, prosthetists, or amputees themselves. You can usually find them leading teams at mobility events or representing ROMP within several other sectors, such as education or sports.

“We’re trying to create a recognized brand in prosthetic care and a known, supportive community in this mobility area. What we’d like to work towards impact in the number of patients,” Lauren said. Currently, ROMP’s reach spans over three countries: Guatemala, Ecuador, and the United States. They serve 75% of their patients in the Guatemala clinic, which is also the largest of its kind in the country.

Adjusting To A New Normal

Many organizations are facing unprecedented challenges, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. ROMP’s clinics face patient care delays as they are limiting the number of people who can visit. Lauren said, “Usually, people bring their families in for their visits, which would turn into multiple patients and over 30 people hanging out for the day.” Safety is a top priorityーtheir mission wouldn’t be carried out without their staff continuing to stay healthy.

Travel is also an important part of ROMP’s programs, especially their volunteer programs that bring people to their clinics 8 times per year to help augment capacity and create an unforgettable educational and cultural experience. The Elite Team also travels to Ecuador each year and this year it was postponed due to travel restrictions. The virtual Climbing for ROMP event went on without a hitch, raising over $27,000 while bringing awareness to disability rights and fair access to prosthetic care.

Want to learn more about the Range of Motion Project? Check out “In Her Shoes”, their latest film which follows two women, both above-the-knee amputees, climbing Cotopaxi.

Follow them on Instagram and Facebook @ROMPglobal and get involved at

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