CANCER/DISABILITY ADVOCATE - SPEAKER - ADAPTIVE RECREATION PIONEER
WHO I AM
"I became an amputee after I was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma in 2009. It is a very rare soft tissue cancer with a 70% mortality rate. After amputation, chemo, and other treatments, the cancer diagnosis went into remission. There was a lot of physical therapy and support groups over the course of a year. But, question was...what’s next? I was no longer the person I knew. Depression, anxiety and a short temper had set in. I had never climbed before if you count a ladder or two. Anxiety had kept me a belay slave not thinking I could climb. In addition, I had never seen anyone like me climb. As part of my 30th birthday present and my Cancerversary (1 year in remission). I applied for a scholarship to Colorado Mountain School for a week in Estes Park, Colorado. I had never climbed before. So it was definitely a great place to have a breakthrough after walking just a year. It was just as frightening as it was difficult. But working against gravity in that manner was the most amazing experience I could ever have."
Since 2012, Kareemah Batts' innovative, creative style of programming, and story of survival has been featured in print, television, radio, and online media; such as Australian Science, PBS Newshour, New York Times, CNN.com, etc. She has been chosen as one 2013's 13 Faces of Cancer, awarded New York City's Americans with Disability Act Sapolin Award by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and is the first female paraclimber in a USA Climbing Competition.
Serves as a Certified Peer Visitor for the Amputee Coalition since 2011. Continues to be guest speaker at regional conferences.