Client Stories

 

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Prosthetic Stories

Celeste Corcoran (AK/BK) On April 15, 2013, Celeste was standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, waiting for her sister Carmen to finish. And then there was a deafening noise which blew out both her eardrums and knocked her off her feet. “I just remember looking down and seeing my legs,” Celeste said in an NPR radio interview. “I really just saw blood and bone. My foot was off at an odd angle. I remember lying there and saying ‘no’ over and over. Like, ‘No. No. This couldn’t have happened. No.’ ” Celeste lost both her legs in the blast.
celesterock We met Celeste a few months later when she attended the Amputee Coalition Conference in Orlando. Her physical wounds were healing, and she was anxious to get some normalcy back in her life, which for Celeste meant walking, driving, working, and caring for her family. The prosthetic legs she had been fit with initially had become uncomfortable and she had difficulty walking with them. After speaking with our staff about options, Celeste and her family made plans to return to Orlando to begin the process. After just one week at POA, Celeste was walking again–without any help! Her strong desire to take back her life and independence was clearly evident. The last day of the second week was also Celeste’s last day at POA, and she was ready to put all her new skills to the test!  Stan had the honor of being the recipient of her first “standing” haircut. He also taught Celeste how to drive a car using both of her prosthetic legs, setting the microprocessor knee to ‘drive’ mode. Mission accomplished! After handing Ronnie back his keys, Celeste climbed up the stairs and walked over to our fitness center for a session with personal trainer Jim Borda before returning to Boston with her family. In January 2014 Celeste returned to POA. This time she had a different goal–to run! The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) had donated a set of running blades to Celeste, and she was anxious to try them out. Within a few days, Celeste ran on the treadmill, and soon she was jogging around our facility—-with her sister, Carmen, by her side–wearing a thousand-watt smile!
celeste2 “I am taking one day at a time,” Celeste said. “When I feel I have recovered to a point where I can help others, I want to do that.” Just after making that statement, Celeste met a young veteran soldier who had lost his leg in Afghanistan and was at POA to be fit with a running leg. After getting to know each other and sharing thoughts and experiences only another amputee can understand, Celeste offered the young man her encouragement. “If I can do it, you can do it!,” she exclaimed. “And I want to see the video, bloopers and all!”   Click here to view WCVB Boston news interview with Celeste regarding the special relationship she shares with superstar Amy Purdy and POA! Below is an excerpt from a 4/2/2014 Fox News interview with Celeste in which she speaks about her experience at POA:
Some of Corcoran’s physical burden has been lifted by a nonprofit called 50 Legs, which helps to provide prosthetic legs and care to those who could not otherwise afford it. 50 Legs worked with a company in Orlando, Fla., called Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates to get Corcoran newer, more high-tech legs to replace a more antiquated pair from a clinic back home.
Corcoran’s new prosthetics have afforded her a freedom she didn’t feel she had in her original legs, even allowing the hairdresser to return to her old salon and cut hair, on a limited basis, for a handful of her old clients. More recently, Corcoran received a pair of running prosthetic legs that will someday allow her to exercise in a way that, she jokes, she couldn’t even handle before the attacks.
“It’s a new thing because I never, ever ran before,” Corcoran said. “I always got shin splints so I hated it, and the joke was now that I don’t have shins, I shouldn’t have a problem with it. It’s really exciting to be able to do something physical like that. It feels so good. When I was out of breath from the physical exertion (the first time I tried to run), it felt great, because it makes you feel alive.”
Corcoran says, without exaggeration, that working with 50 Legs and POA has helped give her her life back, and she hopes to continue working with them to help raise money for other amputees in the future.
“I went from being so discouraged — (in June) I could barely walk, could barely stand in my prosthetic legs — and I’ve gone from that to walking pretty well in the prosthetic legs, the more that I wear them the more comfortable they are, to now going to running legs,” Corcoran said.
“I never ever thought that I would get this far at this point. So they pretty much, as far as I’m concerned, saved my life. Because it was pretty depressing to not be able to get around and to think, ‘This is it, this is what I have to deal with.’
“I’m getting more and more comfortable in my new skin,” she continued. “This is my reality and as our lives go on, things start to feel more normal. I start to feel like I can handle it. … Every little bit of my independence that I get back makes me feel less handicapped and more like my old self, even though I know I’ll never be completely like my old self again.”

Celeste continues to thrive and is now focused on giving back by providing support and encouragement to other amputees. Her passion for people and infectious sense of humor, draw and give hope to people of all ages and abilities. “The support I received after the bombing was amazing,” Celeste said. “I know that most people are not that fortunate. So I am reaching out to amputees through 50 Legs and using the publicity I have received in an effort to help bring awareness to the need and help them get the same excellent care I have experienced.”