Hi, I’m Paula

I’m the founder and Executive Director of Power On With Limb Loss.

Following an accident on a motorcycle, I chose to have my foot amputated. The fear and anxiety about losing my foot was relieved by a peer visitor who challenged me to do any, and everything, that I had done before I lost of my foot. I want to make sure that every amputee has the experience of having a peer visitor to talk to, ask questions, and be empowered by.

In addition to peer visits for recent amputees, we also provide monthly support meetings, conferences, and physical activities to help empower amputees to challenge themselves and find new ways of succeeding.

Before founding Power On With Limb Loss, I have been a cosmetologist for 45 years. During my career I’ve owned salons and managed a beauty supply. I am the proud mother of two children. In 1999-2003 I managed a group home for physically, medically, and developmentally challenged people. I took this job because I have a son with autism, and I needed to learn the ins and outs of the system.

Becoming an Amputee

I have been an amputee for almost 7 years. Since becoming an amputee I’ve been very active, I live life to the fullest! I have run sixteen 5ks, three Dirty Dash’s, multiple obstacle courses, and I ran two 5 mile segments in a relay race. To date, my personal best is running two, Butte to Butte 10ks up and down hills. Quite an accomplishment for a 64 year old amputee! I have formed teams with amputees, family, and friends for doing some of the 5k runs, the biggest team was 16 with 5 being amputees. I realized that I am just getting started!

Founding Power on with Limb Loss

I founded Power On With Limb Loss because I saw a huge need for a local support organization within the Lane County area. Where we could really help amputees and physically challenged individuals feel inspired and have the support they need. Whether that is coming to our monthly support group meetings, doing fundraisers for newer prosthetics, or simply having someone to listen and talk with them who can fully relate.  I am a double certified peer visitor for Ampower and the Amputee Coalition.

Meet Our Board

These incredible individuals are are responsible for helping Power On With Limb Loss make an impact. They come from different backgrounds and provide great insight, and knowledge, so I am honored to have them on our board. – Paula

Debbie Zavala
I’m a Service Dispatcher at Associated Heating and Air Conditioning.
I wanted to be part of this nonprofit to bring awareness to the fact that you can accomplish anything no matter what challenges you are facing. My Dad was a below the knee amputee in the 1970s due to diabetes. I wanted to be part of something that I can see people overcome obstacles and do whatever they set their mind to!

Karen Niemi
During her career Karen worked in administrative accounting, human resources and payroll.  She has volunteered for the American Red Cross, Friends of the Library, the Elks Club and other organizations.  Since she retired in 2010, she has enjoyed spending time pursuing her hobbies, traveling, time with her cats and husband.  Seeing her friend Paula excited about her nonprofit got her excited and she took the opportunity of giving back to her community with Power On With Limb Loss.

Kevin Cardosa
Attended the business program at Lane Community College. 
Occupation: Sales, online marketing. I am an amputee. I electively had my left arm removed above the elbow because I paralyzed it in 2013 in a motorcycle accident that nearly took my life. I believe in positivity, adaption, and leading others into the same mindset. I am also passionate about technology and love helping others to learn. I look forward to sharing and contributing.


Marilyn Rice
Marilyn attended the University of Hartsford and the University of Haifa in Isreal.  Her career included being employed with the State of Colorado, Nursing and Hospital division.

In April of 2017, I lost my left leg. Being new to the amputee world gives me the opportunity to bring in fresh perspective, knowledge and energy to the table. When I was amputated, my family was very distraught, panicky and anxious. I was able to ease my family’s fears because I had worked with Paula and witnessed Paula lead an active, productive and engaging life – this gave me the knowledge and foresight knowing that everything would be okay.


Rod Free
Rod is a founding member of Power On With Limb Loss and he is the Director of Donations specializing in donations in-kind. Rod is retired, but spends his time looking for ways to improve the lives of amputees by discovering new activities and sponsors who are willing to help local amputees empower themselves. Like Rod says, “Who wouldn’t want to be a part of an organization that truly inspires not only the individuals involved but the entire community.”

Tracey Poupa
Is a nationally certified Activity Director. I’ve had the privilege of working with seniors as an Activity Director since 1983. I’m a member of the National Certification Council of Activity Professionals. For twenty years I participated actively with national, state, and local Activity Associations. I organized and facilitated 2 state conventions and over 80 workshops for activity professionals. I was an educational speaker, training others about activity programming, even wrote a book on the subject. My job is about bringing joy to others and it is incredibly rewarding. I love the POWER ON mission and the work of the organization. I appreciate being a small part of all the successes that are happening.

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